Exhibit highlights student’s experiences in the Southwest

Whether inspired by dream or the fantasy to live within a comic world, the Six Shooter exhibit, featured in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery in Art Building F, offers a variety of works for the lover of Texas art. Displaying the works of seven artists, the exhibit is a collection of talent from artists who have much to express.

The works of Paul Valadez are located on the wall facing the observer entering the gallery. Raised in the Central Valley of California, Valadez grew up experiencing a bi-cultural community. He uses acrylic paint, paper mache, recycle tin, wood, canvas, and other materials to show the beauty of classic Americana imagery combined with the Spanish language.

“My work subtly deals with race, culture, and history through a concept of old signage,” he said.

Ricardo Ruiz uses bright colors in his oil on canvas, “Noche Buena,” in order to draw the eye. His painting shows the cycles of life, including a touch of Mexican-American folklore. Ruiz said, “My images usually come to me in those moments between sleep and wakefulness, and it’s only later that I’m usually able to decipher them. The image will beg to be painted.”

On the right wall of the gallery are the satirical paintings of Michelle Smythe. Her works are inspired by personal experience as she reflects on a dream of becoming a Rangerette.

“As a child growing up in nearby Longview, I idolized the Rangerettes, said Smythe. “After trying out and joining the group, I discovered that the reality was much different than the image I had created in my mind.”

In her piece “The Captain,” Smythe said that she is “poking fun at the contortions that we placed our bodies in.” In “The Strut,” an actual movement from the routine is shown, making Smythe’s point clear to the observer.

Mike Stephens said that his pieces, entitled “Contractions,” “Teacher’s Pet,” and “Freak Show,” make a social commentary by using traditional woodcut techniques as well as current images from popular culture.

“By means of an alter-ego figure based upon a graphic comic book style that I have developed since childhood, I explore my place within the chaotic scenarios that often occur in today’s society” Stephens said.

In this process, Stephens explores his own identity, discovering where he would fit in to the scenario, and ends with a highly entertaining piece for the observer.

Check out all of the seven artists featured in the Six Shooter exhibit in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery. The exhibit will be on display through March 20, Mondays through Fridays from 12-5 p.m. For more information, contact (936) 294-1315.

Leave a Reply