Beauty and Power

Beauty and Power

February 5 – February 28, 2010

An exhibition of two mature artists who are similar only in that they are self taught, and the visual impact of their works is both beautiful and powerful.

Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden is pleased to present an exhibition of works by two distinctive artists, Valton Tyler, a native Texan, and Spanish artist Miguel Zapata, who first came to Texas for his retrospective show at the Meadows Museum in 1986. Both of these artists are self taught and create large scale works. Their works are both beautiful in their pleasing forms and color relationships, and powerful in the muscular way the forms fill the space and allude to a deeper meaning. However, that is where the similarities end.

Valton Tyler’s work channels his inner world, delving deeply enough that it seems he is expressing his id. Randall Morris of Cavin-Morris Gallery, the esteemed New York City outsider art dealer, said that Valton was possibly “the most important outsider artist he had seen, but, because of his natural ability and sophistication as a painter, no one would believe he is self taught.” Valton’s subjects are anthropomorphic and mechanical beings, which take on psychic personas that range from playful to menacing. The beings are composed from his personal iconography of forms that are sculptural in nature and scaled to fill the dimensions of the canvas. They are flatly painted with the illusion of three dimensional forms created by his skillful modeling of line, color, and shadow. A selection of works from over 35 years of Tyler’s career will be on view.

Miguel Zapata’s heavily-textured, three-dimensional reliefs are often several inches deep. Some include collage elements such as corrugated steel, boards, or license plates. In Zapata’s working technique he begins with three dimensional surfaces, then tears into them with gouges, adding gestural marks and coloration, moving back and forth until he finds a balance between chaos and order, symmetry and confusion, the essential and the superfluous, and the Apollonian and the Dionysian that expresses a dialogue between classicism and abstract expressionism. Marcus Burke, curator at the Hispanic Society of America in New York, says, “…Zapata makes painted reliefs in which imagery derived from Italian Renaissance, Spanish Golden Age, and Greco-Roman art serve as the basis for Modernist expressive compositions”, where “Humanist allusions are joined perfectly with artistic self-expression.” For Zapata, he is now what he was as a child, “an artist moved within his inmost being by the desire to FEEL THE ACT OF PAINTING ITSELF.”