Dallas-based gallerist Daisha Board, founder and curator of Daisha Board Gallery, was the guest juror for Artspace111’s 9th Annual Texas Juried Exhibition. While the show features a diverse grouping of artists working in a variety of mediums and styles, one theme that stands out in the exhibition is that of tenderness. From compassionate renderings of individuals to touching moments between pairs and groups of people, many works from this year’s show radiate care in a way that contemporary art often does not.
Yasuyo Maruyama’s portrait Catherine 2 is a continuation of her signature style of close-cropped portraits. While her earlier work (c. 2014) uses a flatter style (similar to Alex Katz), the subjects’ faces in her newer works have an added, yet still subtle depth. Through shadows, Maruyama softens the hard edges she uses for some facial features, like the tip of a nose and lines around the eyes and lips.
Barbara Hack’s painting, Hesitation, captures her subject in a vulnerable emotional state. The figure, who appears to be nude, hides her body and part of her face behind a thin tulle-like fabric. Rather than a flowing, loose form, the fabric is made up of tension-filled angular folds. The juxtaposition between the crimped fabric and the smoothness of the figure’s skin adds to the feeling of a delicate rendering of the figure.
Drew Gaines’ Yucatan Barbershop features two older men, a barber and his client, in a blue-walled interior. While the client’s face expresses rest and ease, the barber is in deep concentration as he works. This scene of an everyday moment reveals the care and attention inherent in the service industry, which can easily go overlooked. It is rare that we get glimpses of care between men, so I appreciate how this simple act is elevated as a moment worthy of being captured in oil paint.
In his print Baby Edgar, Alex Zapata shows another moment of care featuring male figures: a new father holds his young son and leans his head down, his nose touching his son’s head. The loving gesture is rendered in vibrant colors, which adds a playfulness that the scene wouldn’t otherwise embody.
Raul Rene Gonzalez’s painting Multi-Tasking depicts artist Julia Barbosa Landois in the studio with her children. It shows the little-seen reality of artists who are also parents and how the two worlds are interconnected. As Barbosa Landois cuts paper for a work in progress, her daughter stands behind her braiding her hair. Rather than feeling like a chaotic moment of juggling parenting and making artwork, the piece maintains a tranquility where everyone seems at ease and content.
These sentimental works were all created within the last two years. It appears that living through a worldwide pandemic has given people a new perspective on the importance of relationships, self-care, and living in the moment. Many of the works selected for Artspace111’s 9th Annual Texas Juried Exhibition (on view through August 27, 2022) capture these lessons.