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Exhibition: Past Four Texas PaintersMay 02–May 30, 1984


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 comments 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.

Susan Freudenheim, critic from Fort Worth, will lecture on Texas art Wednesday, May 2 at 4 p.m. in Gallery 400. Freudenheim, former curator at the Fort Worth Art Museum, selected the works in Four Texas Painters.


Susan Freudenheim, former curator at the Forth Worth Art Museum, recently curated New Talent in Texas, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. She is also a contributing editor to Texas Homes Magazine and free-lance art critic for publications including Art in America, Dallas Observer, Art and Auction, and Art and Architecture. Freudenheim received a BA from Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts; and an MA from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.


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


Four Texas Painters is supported by the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Art and Design’s College of Architecture, Art and Urban Planning.

This exhibition was also funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.