Newfangled Notions #52
Jeff F. Wheeler returns to Houston on June 1, 2013, for his first solo exhibition at G Gallery since 2008. In those five years, the legendary Lubbock artist has exhibited extensively, nationally and internationally, collaborated with a number of renowned artists, and curated over thirty exhibitions at his studio gallery, Farm 2 Market Arts, as part of a two-year residency at Charles Adams’ Studio Projects in the heart of Lubbock’s downtown arts district. He was also featured, with his artist/musician brother Bryan Wheeler, in Catherine Anspon’s 2010 survey of contemporary Texas art, Texas Art Today. Most recently, he has teamed up with Wayne Gilbert and Diane Barber to organize the fifteen-year anniversary tour of “Ulterior Motifs”, a celebratory travelling exhibition of Texas art that will feature past, core artists and new additions like Michael Ray Charles, James Drake, Daniel Johnston, and others. Jeff was also recently awarded the Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Grant from the Dallas Museum of Art.
Newfangled Notions #52 was culled from over 300 paintings, collages, drawings and objects created since the beginning of 2012. While some of this work bears the unmistakable Wheeler stamp, much of it will surprise even those who are familiar with Jeff’s oeuvre. Most recognizable are the often large-scale painting/collages. These utilize his trademark fractured West Texas landscapes littered with disturbing and hilarious collusions/collisions between Norman Rockwell-era banalia, truck-stop Chinese restaurants, big-bootied women in hot tubs, historical and art historical figures, and clarifying and complicating text—all towards narratives that refuse easy interpretation. But here, too, are several dozen restrained, in fact minimalistic, collages constructed from the detritus of his studio practice in one 24-hour period during a Taos residency last summer. These mix with innovative compositions and configurations in two and three-dimensions, art historical mash-ups, color field paintings that don’t mind being called landscapes, bi-gendered bobble-headed football players and brides, and automatist designs. Running through these disparate strands of Jeff’s practice are themes of identity, place, and religion and an approach that is at once celebratory and critical.
Because of the sheer volume of work Jeff has produced in the last 18 months, he’s decided to stage an entirely different exhibition for the show’s closing. On June 29, G Gallery will feature his “Blue Period” works in Newfangled Notions #53, a special 24-hour exhibition on view through Sunday, June 30 at 5pm.