Four Texas Painters

Curated by Susan Freudenheim

Artists: Linda Blackburn, Derek Boshier, Melissa Miller, and Randy Twaddle

The state of Texas has recently blossomed into a vital regional art center. Gathering together large paintings and works on paper, the exhibition Four Texas Painters introduces artists Linda Blackburn, Derek Boshier, Melissa Miller, and Randy Twaddle to Chicago. These four artists share narrative orientations and techniques that combine the bold and the painstaking – characteristics that make their work especially relevant to a Chicago audience, since Chicago art of the same time demonstrated similar tendencies towards an aggressive visual approach and personal and narrative content. 

In large canvas arenas, Austin-based artist Melissa Miller's bears, tigers and other magnificent beasts dramatize elemental confrontations and the 20th-century human condition. Miller, who had not thus far exhibited in Chicago, was chosen for the 1983 Whitney Biennial and was featured at the 1984 Venice Biennale.

The transplanted Englishman, Derek Boshier, responded to the "wilds” of Houston as only a contemporary of David Hockney could. He offers humorous comment on David Bowie, corporate boardrooms, the cowboy and other subjects through a parade of large, bright, thickly painted canvases and small drawings and prints. 

Linda Blackburn, a painter from Fort Worth, sifted through art history and popular culture to create her personal pastiches, in which she draws from Cubism, cartoons, Roman wall paintings and other sources. Within these pastiches she injects personal, introspective meanings into widely known cultural signs.

Randy Twaddle's aggressively tactile, multi-paneled, monochrome paintings juxtapose the cross, the wedding couple, the blindfolded golfer, and the chain-link fence. This Dallas artist explores the shifting significance of such symbols in art and contemporary life.

Four Texas Painters will be accompanied by a lecture on Texas art by Forth Worth art critic Susan Freudenheim. Freudenheim, former curator at the Fort Worth Art Museum, selected the works in Four Texas Painters.