Odd Ducks and Other Assorted Tales, an exhibition of new and recent artwork by
Benito Huerta, will be on display March 24 through April 28 at William
Campbell Contemporary Art. An opening reception will be held on Fort Worth Art
Dealers Association (FWADA) Spring Gallery Night, Saturday, March 24, from noon
to 9:00 p.m. The show will feature paintings, drawings, and mixed media pieces,
both new and recent, that address a variety of aesthetic ruminations and subjects
informed by art history, pop culture, and society at large.
A compilation of new pieces and a few that have appeared singularly in other
exhibitions, Odd Ducks and Other Assorted Tales is diverse in ideas and materials.
As such, it embodies the aesthetic and intellectual density that routinely
characterizes Huerta's art. "It's a bombarding of the senses," says the artist
of the bold figures, robust lines, and rich colors present throughout the collection.
The disparate yet concordant accumulation of work comprises several thematic
and graphic threads, including a human skull with antlers-a fantastical,
self-reflective image that becomes iconic in the context of Huerta's oeuvre.
Part homage to self-portraits by James Ensor (featuring the artist as a skeleton)
and Frida Kahlo (depicting the artist as a hunted deer), the skull construct
suggests a fusion of animal and human forms, perhaps precipitated by environmental
fallout, flawed evolution, or even recalling humans' basest, most instinctual
selves. Here, Huerta has drawn his own teeth into the skull, a physical
manifestation of the artist in the work, but also a tongue-in-cheek nod to
the gravity of the subject matter.
The eerily striking image of a mushroom cloud also appears in several pieces.
Huerta interprets this terrifying, modern icon in its traditional sense, but in
some cases transforms it into a strangely beautiful abstraction of delicate
floral designs. Such imagery alludes to twentieth-century history and culture,
running the gamut from the flower paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the Los
Alamos nuclear test site, to the album art for Jefferson Airplane's Crown of Creation.
Organic lines awash with color populate several of the works as well, painted
and drawn, or as hollowed-out paths on wood panels. These lines-drawings of
images overlapping to create abstract patterns-form dynamic backgrounds, while
also serving to build layers of patterning and dimension, both hiding and
revealing additional components throughout the picture planes. They meander
across the surfaces, like rivers or veins, defining the fundamental ideas
behind each work, while connecting an array of visual elements.
In addition to the two-dimensional pieces, a maquette representing Huerta's
recent public art project will also be on view. Titled Urban Still Life, the
series of sculptures consists of abstracted line drawings (similar to the
two-dimensional work) transformed into three-dimensional representations of
signage and other images Huerta selected from the South Main area of Fort Worth.
Installed last October, the group of six ten-foot sculptures highlights current
features of the neighborhood while memorializing businesses and signage no longer
there. As such, Huerta's creation is not only part of the current physical and
cultural landscape, but also a fiber woven into its history-a designation that
could be made of his entire body of work.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Widely noted throughout the Texas art community and beyond, Benito Huerta has a
long and varied career exhibiting work around the state and across the country.
Regionally, his work has appeared in dozens of one-person and group shows,
including venues in Arlington, Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Galveston,
Houston, and San Antonio, among others. Nationally, Huerta has shown work in
New York City, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Little Rock, Philadelphia, San
Francisco, and Washington, D.C., among many others. In 2015, his work appeared
in an exhibition at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art alongside a
collection of work from its permanent collection, curated by the artist. In
2005, the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi organized a thirteen-year
survey and catalogue of his work titled Soundings: Benito Huerta, 1992-2005.
The show traveled to the El Paso Museum of Art in 2007. In 1994, the University
Museum at Arizona State University in Tempe mounted Benito Huerta: Preserve,
Negate, Transcend, a twelve-year survey of his work. Huerta's art has been
exhibited internationally as well, in Mexico, Germany, Japan, and Paraguay.
Huerta has participated in various public art projects. Most recently, in 2018,
he designed and implemented a project for the city of Fort Worth titled Urban
Still Life, a series of six stainless steel sculptures placed along South Main
Street in Fort Worth. In 2013, he oversaw Fort Worth's Marine Creek Park Corridor
Master Plan. In 2003, he completed installation of Axis at the Henry Gonzalez
Convention Center in San Antonio as part of that city's public art program, and
from 2002 to 2007, he participated in the creation of Snake Path at the
Mexican-American Cultural Center in Austin. From 2002 to 2005, Huerta was
commissioned to construct Wings at DFW Airport's International Terminal. In
addition to these, in 2001, he was part of a contingent of artists from Arlington
and its German sister city, Bad Königshofen, who created international peace
monuments in Gene Allen Park and in Germany.
Huerta serves as professor of art at the University of Texas at Arlington,
where he is also the director and curator of The Gallery at UTA. He was
co-founder, executive director, and now board director emeritus of the
Texas-based contemporary art journal Art Lies. He has sat on the Exhibition
Advisory Panel of the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, the Visual Arts Panel
of the Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the
Exhibition Advisory Committee of the College Art Association in New York and
has served on the boards of the Arlington Museum of Art, the Dallas Visual Art
Center, and Diverse Works in Houston, among others.
Huerta has won various awards, including the 2008 Maestro Tejano Award from
the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas and the Dallas Center for Contemporary
Art's 2002 Artist Legend of the Year Award. His work can be found in museum
collections nationwide, at the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Menil Collection,
and Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; the DePaul University Museum in Chicago;
the El Paso Museum of Art; and the Library of Congress. Corporate collections
featuring Huerta's work include American Airlines, AT&T, IBM, and Microsoft,
to name a few.
Benito Huerta received his BFA from the University of Houston and his MA from
New Mexico State University.