Saturday, November 21
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Compass, an exhibition of new paintings by renowned Fort Worth artist Billy Hassell, will be on display November 21, 2015 through January 2, 2016, at William Campbell Contemporary Art. An opening reception will be held Saturday, November 21, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The show will include eight new canvases that depict the Texas landscape and its native flora and fauna in Hassell’s signature style combining stylized naturalism with expressive and poetic interpretations. The exhibition willalso premiere the first in a series of five color lithographs commissioned by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation in conjunction with its Keeping It Wild campaign. Additionally, the gallery will
Compass explores the diverse plant and animal species found in Texas, with an emphasis on the coastal prairie region. The works display a variety of indigenous subject matter, including flowers, grasses, mammals, and reptiles, along with an array of the graceful, charismatic birds long associated with the artist. With these scenes, Hassell seeks to portray a “sense of community of wildlife,” as they evoke the inextricable link between animals and their habitats, as well as the universal interdependence and connection among all species.
These nature-based narratives reveal a complex matrix of wildlife in an unspoiled landscape, straddling the line between realism and hyperbole. Anchored by austere, placid panoramas, the densely populated foregrounds teem with movement and energy, and a palpable sense of fecundity. Elegantly painted, detailed figures are juxtaposed with abstracted, stylized shapes, all layered within clearly defined, compressed spaces that sometimes burgeon on the chaotic, but remain effectively restrained. Ultra-saturated colors pervade the picture planes, fusing the traditional with the modern and further activating each space. Overall, Hassell’s environments conjure a unique accessibility that is exciting and provocative-a bit mysterious, but also familiar.
Hassell’s new lithograph and several additional paintings in the exhibition evolved out of his collaboration with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation at Powderhorn Ranch-more than 17,000 acres of coastal prairie now protected and managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The pristine coasts, marshes, and wetlands in the area support many migratory birds, including whooping cranes, which recently came back from the brink of extinction. A longtime environmental advocate, Hassell often highlights such species in his work, both to celebrate the resiliency of the natural world and to remind viewers of its fragility.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Over the past three decades, Billy Hassell has evolved into one of Texas’ most in-demand artists. He has exhibited throughout the state in dozens of solo and group
exhibitions in Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi, to name a few.
He has shown work across the United States as well, in such metropolitan areas as Los Angeles, New Orleans, St. Louis, Santa Fe, New York City,
and most recently, in Denver and Kansas City, Missouri. Honors and awards include Best of Show at the 42nd Annual Invitational Exhibition at the Longview Museum of Art, the Anne Giles Kimbrough Award from the Dallas Museum of Art, and Best of Series: Emerging Artists from the Galveston Arts Center, among others.His work was the subject of a 2011 retrospective at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
Hassell’s work can be seen throughout the community, and his public art commissions include mosaics at Fire Station #34 in Fort Worth and at DFW Airport’s Terminal D. In addition, he created a series of five limited edition color lithographs for the Audubon Society of Texas and a color intaglio edition for the Texas Nature Conservancy. His work also hangs in the A.C.E.S. Building at the University of Texas in Austin.
Hassell boasts an extensive bibliography; articles featuring his work have appeared in local and national publications, among these Fort Worth’s Star-Telegram, the Dallas Morning News, the New York Times, the Austin American-Statesman, ARTnews, D Magazine, Southwest Art, and Texas Parks and Wildlife. Many public collections include Hassell’s work, among them the University of Texas at Austin, Houston’s Menil Collection and Museum of Fine Arts, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Longview Museum of Art, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Corporate collections include Texas Instruments, Frito-Lay, and HBO.
Billy Hassell has served on the Exhibition Advisory Panel for the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, and the Artist Advisory Committee for the Arlington Museum of Art. He has lectured and taught art at various colleges and universities, among them Texas Christian University, the University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Woman’s University, and Davidson College. He received a master of fine arts degree from the University of Massachusetts and a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Notre Dame.
ABOUT THE GALLERY
Founded in 1974 by William and Pam Campbell, William Campbell Contemporary Art exhibits high-quality contemporary art in a variety of media, including paintings, works on paper, mixed-media constructions, photography, prints, ceramics, and sculpture. By exhibiting nationally recognized artists, along with new and emerging talent, the gallery aims to nurture an awareness and appreciation of the exciting diversity found in contemporary art.