Inman Gallery is pleased to participate in the 2021 Dallas Art Fair (November 11–14), presenting work by Jamal Cyrus, Dorothy Antoinette (Toni) LaSelle, Robyn O'Neil, Alexis Pye and Jana Vander Lee, five artists with ties to Texas. Exhibiting a wide range of production methods, conceptual explorations, and contemporary chronology – from Texas Modernist Dorothy Antoinette (Toni) LaSelle (1901 – 2002), to emerging painter Alexis Pye (b. 1995) – the booth will highlight the diversity of artistic practice in Texas.
Jamal Cyrus (b. 1973, Houston) just closed his first museum exhibition at the Blaffer Art Museum, a mid-career survey entitled “The End of My Beginning”, which will travel to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Mississippi Museum of Art in 2022-2023. His work is currently on view in New Orleans as part of Prospect 5, “Yesterday We Said Tomorrow”. Drawing on the languages of collage and assemblage, as well as the cultural politics embedded within Black American music, Jamal Cyrus’ work pursues sculpture as a series of metaphysical encounters. Cyrus is engaged with an aesthetic practice that aims to transform the most mundane materials and objects into rich, densely packed networks of meaning and purpose. For the fair, we will be presenting a very early large work on paper, and a new denim work, both of which incorporate rectangular “redactions” from FBI files.
Dorothy Antoinette (Toni) LaSelle (b. 1901, Beatrice, NE, d. 2022, Denton, TX) is one of Texas’ most celebrated modernist painters. Having been exposed to European modernism in college in Nebraska, she went on to study at the University of Chicago, where she received an MA in Art History. Subsequent studies in Europe before World War ll and then in the US with Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Hans Hofmann in the 1940s cemented her modernist credentials. From the 1950s onward until the 1990s, LaSelle practiced her own unique style of geometric abstraction, characterized by bold color and enthusiastic paint application. From the 1960s on, she increasingly worked on paper, in series, using oil pastel, watercolor and ink. Not unheralded in her lifetime, she had solo exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Art (1948) and the Fort Worth Art Center (1959). She was recently included in the exhibition “Texas Women: A New History of Abstract Art” at the San Antonio Museum of Art and her work will be included in an upcoming show at the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi in 2022.
Robyn O'Neil's (born 1977, Omaha, NE) prodigious career places her in the company of some of the great landscape artists in the history of art. Known for her detailed narrative drawings that often contain art historical references, her work ranges from the most intimate of renderings to monumental multi-paneled works. Often surreal or symbolic, her drawings reference personal narratives and art historical allusions, all while dealing with themes of memory, identity and climate crises. Her mid-career survey exhibition “WE, THE MASSES”, organized by Alison Hearst for the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, was on view October 2019- February 2020. For the Dallas Art Fair, we will be presenting a selection from O’Neil’s “Hotel Stationary Drawings” series.
In her own words, “My hotel stationary series started because I have an almost manic need to draw every day, and I was driven crazy every time I was away from my studio while traveling.” She began working on hotel stationary as a matter of convenience while away, and then carried the practice, including the stationary itself, back into her studio. These works have become a critical part of her artistic practice as she finds that approaching a piece of paper that already has writing/printing on it allows her to be much looser. The works on view are from 2020-2021 during a time when none of us COULD travel and thus they act as a wistful diary of unrealized far-flung adventures.
Alexis Pye (born 1995, Detroit, MI) is a Houston-based artist whose painting practice has explored the tradition of portraiture as a way to express the Black body outside of its social constructs. The paintings she has recently produced offer intimate glimpses into the garden-immersed environments of her subjects. Her most recent exhibition focused on Black men situated within a garden or foliage setting; the works were meant, as she has stated, to evoke “playfulness, wonder and blackness, as well as the joys amidst adversity.” For the Dallas Art Fair, we are presenting two recently-completed works, “Found Still Life l” and “The Sun,” that comprise small gouache paintings surrounded by an artist-made punch-stitch frame. The imagery, “found still lives”, are pieces of the outside world, taken from the artist’s night-time walks in her neighborhood. Without figures, the garden comes to the fore. The punch-stitch embroidery frames, which incorporate a flower motif, continue the garden theme, while creating a window to view through.
Jana Vander Lee (b. 1945, Lansing, IL) is an American artist-weaver who came out of the craft-heavy regional guild system. She successfully integrated her tapestries into the male-dominated fine art scene in Houston starting in the late 1960s and her work was widely exhibited in the region during this time. Comprising large and medium scale tapestries, her work was inspired by her early life in the Dutch Calvinist church, travels to the American Southwest to study Navajo weaving, and her deep knowledge of the American Fiber Arts tradition through self-education. An artist, writer, curator and community organizer, Vander Lee was instrumental in organizing important exhibitions that introduced fiber art into the mainstream fine art scene in Houston into the 1980s. The artist suffered eyesight problems in the mid-90s but has recently recovered, allowing her to begin her practice anew. The small-scale works on view in our booth are examples of the new tapestries that Vander Lee has been making since moving to Chicago and reigniting her artistic practice.