Terrazzo floor, DFW, 37' x 180'
JOHN HOLT SMITH,
Acrylic Enamel on Aluminum, 8' x 30'
Early Morning Flight
Mosaic Floor Medallion, DFW 20' dia.
Art can transform the most sterile space into a
personally meaningful environment through its power to create associations
and sensory experiences. Perhaps the acid test of that theory is
airport art – specifically the art being incorporated in the new
Terminal D now under construction at Dallas/Fort Worth International
Airport. William Campbell Contemporary Art exhibits its own and other
top local artists from among the many throughout the country who were
commissioned to create ambient art for the project. The exhibition
will include works from each artist's studio and provide a preview
of the excitement of actually experiencing the full scale installations
as a globe-trotting traveler who may find that this airport is becoming
a destination in itself.
Benito Huerta is well recognized for his primarily figurative
paintings and prints influenced by his ethnic background, history,
and pop culture. In his enormous piece at DFW, Benito gives adventurous
nomads the unparalleled opportunity to surf the length of a three
hundred foot terrazzo hallway on the backs of vintage planes and
jetliners that zoom along in a rush of changing colors. Huerta, who
spent several months supervising the installation details, is a
distinguished and prolific artist who is also very active in the
public art arena. His work will be the subject of a fourteen-year
survey at the South Texas Institute for the Arts, formerly the Art
Museum of South Texas, in Corpus Christi in November.
John Holt Smith applies lines like contrails down aluminum surfaces in
his abstract paintings. Using photographs as his starting point and
computer technology, Holt creates a DNA signature of the light at that
moment on that day, adding to his palette the element of time. Each of
the several thousand distinct lines of color has been painted about eight
times to get the precise tonality the artist requires. With a photo of the
Texas hill country in the spring as his point of inspiration, Smith has
created an eight by thirty foot mural for Terminal D at DFW.
Billy Hassell's paintings mirror the dynamism of modern times.
Using nature and birds in particular, as his subject matter, Hassell
gives an edge to naturalistic imagery by playing with the perspective or
combining realism with abstraction. In his work for DFW, Hassell floats
a mockingbird against an impossibly deep blue and green background in
Early Morning Flight, a twenty-foot diameter mosaic floor medallion
fabricated by a German stained glass studio. Coincidentally, long before
Hassell became well known as a painter, he experimented with scraps of
stained glass from a chapel, provided by his aunt who was a nun. The
richness and luminosity of the DFW piece comes from a dialogue between
the two mediums.
Jane Helslander makes getting there half the fun with her
twenty-foot mosaic medallion titled Floating In Space (A Waltz). In
her piece for DFW, a riot of blue and white circles and ovals on a
joyous red and orange background, this abstract design could function
as a diagram for the whirl of reunion, the cycle of seasons, or the
aerial path of an incoming plane. This theme is continued in the
paintings and works on paper shown in this exhibition.
Dan Blagg is known for the subtlety of his cityscapes and urban
landscape paintings that are a part of this exhibition, but he has
put on a different hat for DFW. His swift, kinetic harmonies of clouds,
diamonds, raindrops, and constellations extend three hundred feet down
each of two terrazzo floors that take lucky pedestrians on a magic carpet
Dennis Blagg often chooses the varied terrain of the Big
Bend area for the subject of his landscape paintings. In his huge mural
for DFW, The Boquillas Pass, looks as real as a window from a viewing
distance of a hundred feet. At forty feet or so, however, it dissolves
into another dimension like the proverbial looking glass, or like the
ground that falls away after takeoff and recedes into abstract topography.
Nancy Lamb is never without her camera, shooting bird's
eye view photos of people, capturing fragments of celebrating crowds.
The resulting photographs become the inspiration for her paintings seen
in this exhibition. For her DFW commission, a thirty by three hundred
foot terrazzo celebration, "the largest hot pink floor in the world,"
floats a cloud of birds across clocks set in different time zones. A
lyrical meditation on the freedom of travel, it also embodies today's
energy on the wing.
Ed and Linda Blackburn, artists working together on a
twenty-foot medallion, evoke the romantic drama of the film Casablanca in
their rendition of Bogart and Bergman saying farewell in front of a hangar,
with the airplane waiting and a mysterious man approaching. In this
exhibition, Ed and Linda will exhibit their individual works. Linda
Blackburn's paintings and works on paper depict dramas influenced by
old movies, while Ed Blackburn's works are illustrative type images that
fall apart as contemporary paintings, leaving an opening.
Anitra Blayton is recognized for her social
commentary mixed-media works and installation pieces. She will exhibit
new work continuing the themes of universality with references to
interaction, either directly or indirectly. For her work at DFW,
Anitra suspends a mighty sculpture, sixteen feet high and four feet
in diameter, from the ceiling of the ticketing area. Standing Ovation,
made of cast bronze, acrylic, and terra cotta, is a dense forest of
life size hands paired in applause, a metaphor for greeting or farewell.
Linda Guy will be exhibiting her recent works on
canvas that utilize digital processes with heavily reworked surfaces.
In these mixed-media works, abstract images are used in conjunction with
figurative references. For her medallion at DFW, Linda spins a vinyl
platter and sets sedate business travelers in motion. Attaché cases
flying about the twenty-foot floor medallion, they momentarily liberate
themselves from the commuting grind as everyone has no doubt thought of
doing at one time or another.
Each artist commissioned by DFW for the public
artworks at Terminal D is unique, yet all possess a vision that extends
beyond the horizon. The sheer electricity of their art runs like a
slipstream through the new airport, lifting the hearts of the birds of
passage who move through its gates.
Concurrently with this exhibition at William Campbell
Contemporary Art, the Fort Worth Public Art Program in conjunction with
DFW Airport will present an exhibition at the Community Arts Center of
the Tarrant and Dallas County artists commissioned by D-FW Airport to
create integral floor mosaics, each a massive 20' in diameter. Studies
of each artist's medallion will be exhibited. A conversation with the
artists will also take place at the Community Arts Center, 1300 Gendy
St., on Saturday, June 25th at 4:30 pm and the artists' reception will
be held from 4-7pm. Moderated by Bill Campbell, this dialogue will
provide a glimpse into the artists' experience creating work for the
The public is invited to view both exhibitions
celebrating the artists awarded these major public commissions.