John Cobb

Henry Finkelstein

past exhibitions
future exhibitions

press release

Press Release 

John Cobb: Reclamation

December 9, 2017 – January 20, 2018

Opening Reception: Saturday, December 9, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Artist Talk: Saturday, January 13, 11:00am

When John Cobb enrolled in RISD in 1974, his realist tendencies were ostracized. Using funds intended for his education, Cobb moved to Europe, bought a Vespa, and learned by independent study in museums and by making watercolors in Morocco, Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy. When funds ran low he returned to Austin to finish his art degree at St. Edward’s University. Valley House Gallery has exhibited his work since 2010.

These small works are the result of a tribulation. Eyes that could see only double, a heart that gave out from chemo, facial surgery to remove half the face; I lived only in hope against hope to be able to work again. With that old dear longing, restored face, renewed heart, and improving health, I started again to recline upon the shores of Texas waterways and vistas wishing to express as simply as possible my love and delight at being able to see and paint again. Also included in this exhibition will be the egg tempera panel, Christmas, one of the recent paintings completed for The Chapel installation, now 36 years in the making.

“God bless us one and all.”—Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

—John Cobb

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Henry Finkelstein: Paintings

December 9, 2017 – January 20, 2018

Opening Reception: Saturday, December 9, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Artist Talk: Saturday, December 9, 11:00am

Henry Finkelstein returns for his eighth solo exhibition at Valley House Gallery since 2002. A residency at Rochefort-en-Terre in Brittany, France, in 1992, and again in 2000, introduced him to this region where he returns each summer to paint. Finkelstein earned his MFA in painting from Yale University School of Art in 1983, followed by a Fulbright Grant to study in Italy. In 1994, he was elected a National Academician. Finkelstein has taught painting and drawing in New York City since 1996.

Unlike strictly abstract painters, I paint mostly from direct observation. Nature offers me a necessary resistance that I find challenging. To this day, discovering new color relationships as I paint from nature remains a central focus of my work. I am not interested in documenting that fact of where I am, but in trying to convey what that place says to me. I go there, I enjoy the light, I enjoy the history. I’m more interested in my direct feelings from what I see, which come mostly from color. When I draw for a while, looking for a motif, color starts to give me a real buzz and I get excited. For me it’s the feeling I can imbue into the work and hopefully communicate to someone else. It is never fixed, but rather it lives on in its own right. This is the simplicity that I seek.

—Henry Finkelstein

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Donald S. Vogel (1917-2004): A Celebration

November 4 - December 2, 2017

Opening Reception: Saturday, November 4, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Donald S. Vogel, along with his wife Peggy, founded Valley House Gallery in 1954. As a studio painter, Vogel allied himself with the temperaments of Vuillard, Renoir, and Bonnard. In his paintings, he created imagined worlds of color and light; contemplative works that exist as “moments of pleasure.” Early in his life he decided not to paint the hardships of his youth. Vogel studied at the Art Institute of Chicago where the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Nabi paintings were uplifting antidotes to his impoverished circumstances. The WPA Easel Project in Chicago gave him the prosperity of materials, models, and rent that let him work continuously. In 1942, Vogel moved to Dallas and received news that he won a coveted medal and cash award from the American Academy in Rome; however, the war prevented him from traveling to Italy. In 1951, he began dividing his time between the studio and the gallery when he became the director of the Betty McLean Gallery, and then Valley House. Through all the years, Donald Vogel always thought of himself as an artist first.

This exhibition celebrates the 100th Anniversary of his birth year.

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Mary Vernon: Paintings

September 23 - October 28, 2017

Opening Reception:  Saturday, September 23, 6:00pm-8:00pm

Artist Talk:  Saturday, October 14, 11:00am

About her recent work, Mary Vernon states, "I hope to prove this to you: drawing and painting are holding each other tightly, constantly interfering with each other. It's not that drawing is first and painting is last. It is not exactly that drawing is the truth and painting is the lie that we prefer. It is not at all that drawing is the outline and painting is the coloring-in. The two acts, drawing and painting, get in each other's way at every moment."

This exhibition celebrates Mary Vernon's 50 years on the faculty at SMU. In recognition, the Mary Vernon Painting Prize has been announced by the Meadows School of the Arts. Join the effort to endow the prize, which will annually recognize an outstanding undergraduate art student as selected by the faculty of the Division of Art. Funds may be used by the recipient to open a studio or otherwise launch his or her art career.

A legendary professor, Mary Vernon taught art history, painting, drawing, and color theory to thousands of students, including Valley House curator Cheryl Vogel. University students voted Vernon their favorite professor at SMU for ten consecutive years. Read a synopsis of Mary Vernon's career and influence written by Julie England and Lin Medlin, and a feature by Gail Sachson in Patron magazine.

Read more about Mary Vernon's 50 years of art and teaching at SMU.

A second Mary Vernon exhibition "Painting is Drawing" is on view at The Grace Museum in Abilene, through January 6, 2018. The Artist Reception will be Saturday, October 7, 5:00pm-7:00pm, at The Grace Museum.  Watch a time-lapse video of The Grace Museum installation, and an interview with Mary Vernon about the exhibition.

A Few Words about the Drawing/Paintings of Mary Vernon
by Frederick Turner

"It’s not that Mary Vernon doesn’t have an axe to grind; she does, but it’s not the ordinary kind, where the Artist’s Socially Responsible Message overwhelms the poor wretched image. It’s that the axe she grinds is one of sheer astonishment at the beauty of the world and, even more, of our perception of it if we open our eyes. Her pawings or draintings are like the very pieces of the world they represent: not the way a photograph is like them, but the way our real amazing jelly eyes grab them and try to make sense of them. They look as if they’d been there forever, with their quirky textures and odd bits of brightness and splotches and drips and smears and all. These lives are not still, but dancing with light and color—she is one of the great colorists of the world, but it’s all done with such insouciant mastery that one doesn’t feel got at or advertised to. She can be as glum and drab sometimes as any odd dim afternoon with some impending revelation or sudden retrospective insight in it.

Vernon’s peculiar virtuosity—or rather the way she rides it—is a sort of solution to a big contemporary problem among good artists. There’s plenty of virtuosity about, and artists want to be singular. Do they just throw out their amazing gift, given to them for the solace and enlightenment of the world? Do they sneer at it while exercising it? Do they coyly disguise it? Do they show it off as a sort of conjuring trick, with an intellectual explanation? I’m not talking here about the usual bright artist who never bothered to learn virtuosity in the first place, and can get away with that these days.

No, the really good artists around now, of whom Vernon is one, take their virtuosity as a gift, and give it away as a gift to our powers of sight and our capacity for joy. They don’t take it entirely seriously—it’s like dancing with a god, or wrestling with an angel—but they respect it too. They’re on such good terms with it that they’ll josh it a bit so it doesn’t put on airs. Mary’s outrageous sense of humor is everywhere in her work, but it’s not lightweight—it’s as serious as a Shakespeare comedy.  And what Mary means by “drawing” is, I think, also more generally the virtuosic power of revelation, the sweet shock of the wabi-sabi of the world, its messy amazingness, its cockeyed calm. She’s a nature artist, one could say, but for her the human, technology and all, is still nature naturing, inventing odd aspects by which it sees itself anew."

- Frederick Turner, 2017

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A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. (Greek Proverb)

An exhibition benefiting Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center

August 19 - September 16, 2017

Opening Reception
Saturday, August 19, 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Native Plants for Birds
Lecture by Dr. Tania Homayoun, Urban Conservation Program Manager, Audubon Texas
Wednesday, August 23, 7:00pm

The Big Thicket and the Sociability of Trees
Lecture by Dr. Pete Gunter, Professor Emeritus, University of North Texas
Monday, August 28, 7:00pm

A Passion for Texas Native Trees
Lecture by Tary Arterburn, Principal, studioOustide
Thursday, August 31, 7:00pm

Tour of Dogwood Canyon
For Valley House Patrons
Saturday, September 2, 10:00am

Trees of Art and Life in the Middle Ages
Lecture by Danielle Joyner, Visiting Assistant Professor, Southern Methodist University
Thursday, September 14, 12:00 noon

Artists included:
Jack Barnett, Vera Barnett, Lu Ann Barrow, Kathy Boortz, Lloyd Brown, Lindy Chambers, John Cobb, Brian Cobble, Robert Cocke, Tim Coursey, David A. Dreyer, David Everett, Phil Evett, David FeBland, Henry Finkelstein, Barnaby Fitzgerald, Malou Flato, Bart Forbes, Lilian Garcia-Roig, David H. Gibson, Allison Gildersleeve, Miles Cleveland Goodwin, Cindi Holt, Otis Huband, Anita Huffington, Philip Van Keuren, Olivia Leigh Martin, Winston Mascarenhas, Mark Messersmith, Trish Nickell, Gail Norfleet, Michael O’Keefe, Shane Pennington, Phillip Shore, Everett Spruce, Jane Starks, Jim Stoker, Bob Stuth-Wade, James Surls, Olin Travis, Janet Turner, Valton Tyler, Mary Vernon, Anne Weary, Jim Woodson and Tom Woodward.

Please check back as we are receiving work for the exhibition and will be adding it to the website.

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Kathy Boortz: In Plain View (a mixed media celebration of Texas backyard birds)

June 17 - July 22, 2017

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 17, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Kathy Boortz' mixed media sculptures of Texas birds are envisaged from pieces of wood found on her walks, developed by modeling heads in clay and welding legs in iron, then completed by painting the whole. Boortz describes the way she begins, "When I hike, my eyes are often downcast, feasting on the gifts of nature offered up by the natural world. Weighed down like a peddler, I arrange and rearrange the treasures I gather till I reach my destination, my home and studio, where I review and reassemble my stash, my prizes of singular beauty. The shapes I select lend themselves to further interpretation, semblances of the animal world which I revere and speak for. Some literally make themselves while others need tweaking but all in all, my aim is to lovingly portray the beauty, the humor, at times the harshness of the fauna of our natural world."

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Lindy Chambers: No Glass Slipper (living off the grid in rural Texas)

June 17 - July 22, 2017

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 17, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Gallery Talk: Saturday, June 24, 11:00am

Lindy Chambers began her trailer paintings in 2011, inspired by the rural “off the grid” lives seen in the region near her Bellville, Texas, home. Beginning with thumbnail sketches and tonal studies, Lindy assembles these trailers—entrenched with their animals, trash, electric wires, propane tanks, and window units—into inventive, colorful compositions where dogs rule, and all strays are black. Detritus is littered throughout, a nod to an earlier series of large scale paintings and assemblages of non-biodegradable trash. She finds meaning in what others discard and overlook. Born in Jackson, Tennessee in 1949, Lindy spent her childhood drawing and riding horses with her identical twin sister, LeeLee. Marriage brought Lindy to Texas in 1972. She studied sculpture at the Glassell School of Art in Houston and built a foundry where she cast her own sculpture for many years.

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Barnaby Fitzgerald:  Concordances

May 6 - June 10, 2017

Opening Reception:  Saturday, May 6, 6:00pm – 8:30pm

Artist Talk:  Saturday, May 20, 11:00am

Valley House Gallery is pleased to announce our 8th solo exhibition of Barnaby Fitzgerald’s oil paintings, egg tempera paintings, and drawings. He is a Professor of Painting at Southern Methodist University where he has taught since 1984. Fitzgerald spent his childhood in the Perugia region of Italy before receiving a Magistero degree in printmaking and drawing at the Istituto Statale d’Arte in Urbino. He received a B.F.A. at Boston University and an M.F.A. from Yale University, both in painting.

Poet scholar Frederick Turner writes, Barnaby Fitzgerald’s outrageously gorgeous paintings are a guilty pleasure - yet the guilt is unnecessary, for they do not cloy or fatten us. They are as intellectually challenging and stimulating as they are sensually seductive.

An exhibition catalogue, with an essay by Frederick Turner, Ph.D., will be available.

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John Hartell:  Paintings (1955-1993)

March 25 - April 29, 2017

Opening Reception:  Saturday, March 25, 6:00pm-8:00pm

Valley House Gallery is honored to present a selection of paintings from the estate of American artist, John Hartell (1902-1995). We were introduced to Hartell's luminous paintings by a tip from a dinner guest at the home of his daughter, Dallasite Kay Cattarulla and her husband Elliot. John Hartell taught two disciplines at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York: freshman architects and graduate painters. He was a much-loved professor there from 1930 until his retirement in 1967; one of his most illustrious students is the architect Richard Meier. As an artist, Hartell's first solo exhibition was in 1937 at Kleeman Gallery in New York. He exhibited at Kraushaar Galleries in New York for four decades, beginning in 1943. The Hartell Gallery at Cornell University, under the Sibley Dome, is named for him. In describing John Hartell, the artist Michael Boyd writes, "He was engaged in a kind of visual alchemy, where the visible world is transmuted into pure color and light, where objects seem to condense out of light." John Hartell's daughters Kay Cattarulla and Mari Quint will attend the opening reception.

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Mark Messersmith:  Pay the Thunder No Mind - Listen to the Birds, and Hate Nobody

March 25 - April 29, 2017

Opening Reception:  Saturday, March 25, 6:00pm-8:00pm

Artist Talk:  Saturday, March 25, 5:30pm

Valley House Gallery presents our third solo exhibition for Mark Messersmith, a Professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee. In lushly-colored paintings, Messersmith creates dense narratives packed with animals, birds, plants, and insects that express his concern for the shrinking world they inhabit. New to this exhibition are small paintings of birds. They are a dramatic shift in scale from his monumental paintings which are embellished with carved pediments and predellas that further the narratives and express his affection for Renaissance altarpieces and folk art. Messersmith earned a BFA at Fontbonne College in St. Louis, and an MFA from Indiana University. He was awarded the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in Painting in 2006. Among the many museums that have collected his works are the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art, Musée du Haut-de-Cagnes, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and the Tyler Museum of Art. The exhibition title is adapted from a quote by Eubie Blake.

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David A. Dreyer:  Till Things Never Seen Seem Familiar

February 18 - March 18, 2017

David A. Dreyer was born in Dallas in 1958, and earned his BFA and MFA at Southern Methodist University. He has had solo exhibitions at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary in Dallas and The Grace Museum in Abilene. We are pleased to present his sixth exhibition of paintings and sculpture at Valley House Gallery.  An exhibition catalogue will be available.

About this body of work, Dreyer states, "The art I make does not tell a direct story, but prompts one to find things truly unseen. In this exhibition, the works develop through intuitive improvisations, actions upon surface, and lines perpetually reflecting and responding to the previous surface condition until each piece manifests the familiar - a rightness of resolution - the gestalt. This echo of familiarity drives my work, as I simultaneously move head-hearted toward and away from where it comes."

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Miles Cleveland Goodwin:  The Maze

January 14 - February 11, 2017

Valley House Gallery is pleased to present our second exhibition of paintings and sculpture by Mississippi artist Miles Cleveland Goodwin, along with the publication of a catalogue illustrating his recent work. 

Working in his open-air studio, Miles is deeply in touch with his surroundings – both corporeal and spiritual.  He incorporates materials provided by the land - dirt, ash, nests, and the refuse of rural life – in his oil and egg tempera paintings, resulting in complex and unexpected surface textures.  Likewise, his sculptures evolve through an intuitive process born from his natural inclination to see poetic metaphor in all he observes.

Not unlike the spirit of Southern literature and Delta blues music, there is an autobiographical nature to his storytelling.  Miles says, I don’t like to do things I don’t know.  He paints to figure out who he is.  In Goodwin’s soulful compositions, he narrates the story of his family and the essential nature of animals and land around him.  In his work, we feel the temperature and humidity.  We sense the ever-present spiritual forces that guide our world.  We experience the inherent ambiguities and provocations felt when confronting life as it is.  The honest intention and lack of guile behind the paintings resonates within us long after an encounter with his work.

About this body of work, the artist states:

I live in a small town in central Mississippi.  I live here because there is a sense of the old world, old ways of doing things—rough hands and bright souls.  When I drive to town every morning for three shots of espresso on ice, I see people with cemeteries on the side of their yards, those plastic flowers all around.  People who are not racially divided, but together because of a long history of ups and downs.  A place where the woods are swallowing homes like snakes eat eggs; they travel down the winding body of the highway roads.  It is all so beautiful and true.

Collectors Catherine Such and Douglas Walker, recently wrote an appreciation about Miles’ work:

Miles Cleveland Goodwin looks at an America that is both long past and just within reach of the future. He crafts a unique landscape portrayed through a lens of archetype and myth and peopled with characters familiar or fantastic yet always resonant. Not quite dystopian, but fundamentally introspective and haunting, the work is meticulously crafted with layers both of material and allusion into a narrative that simultaneously draws the viewer into what might be happening but maintains a deep reserve.

Nothing is quite straightforward and narratives are never definitively resolved in Goodwin’s work. Viewers are compelled to speculate about a greater story that lingers tantalizingly just out of reach. Longing, mythos, a gothic formality, and many recognizable but dreamlike elements provide an entry into an ultimately interior experience of his work. The subconscious experience of his art is deeply intimate.

This rests on a bedrock of rare skill and ability, coupled with a distinctly southern artistic sensitivity.  Goodwin expands his psychological themes with color – particularly white and crimson – and the depth of surface, texture, brushwork and manipulation of paint and material. Imagery arises through a complex and ever-evolving process of interaction between artist and materials.

The result? An old master painting rescued from a corner of the attic. A scene played out in a landscape emerging from our shared anxiety for the future. Or a prophetic vision transfigured in pigment and feathers and branches.

Deeply American, in its isolated landscapes and beautiful anxieties, the work of Miles Cleveland Goodwin endures.

Miles Cleveland Goodwin was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1980, and raised in the South.  He earned his BFA at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, and eventually returned to Mississippi.  Valley House Gallery presented his first exhibition in Texas, Where We Prayed, in 2015. 

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>>>> Through August 12 Lloyd Brown and Brian Cobble in "AS IS: rural realism" at The Grace Museum in Abilene.


>>>> Coinciding with David Gibson's retrospective exhibition is the release of two publications designed by award-winning Nazraeli Press, each with an essay by John Rohrbach, Ph.D., Senior Curator of Photographs at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art:
>> "Images Panoramas Sequences" is comprised of three cloth-bound volumes spanning thirty years of work. Nazraeli Press states, "[this monograph] is a long-overdue survey of Gibson's highly-acclaimed photographic output. Working quietly and without regard to passing trends, David H. Gibson has created a body of work that celebrates the ethereal beauty of our natural world." Limited to 500 hand-numbered copies, this set is $250.
>> "Still Light" is a hardcover monograph with 70 plates that are highlights from 30 years of Gibson's photography. Also limited to 500, this volume is $55.


>>>> On August 5, our dear friend and artist Philip John Evett passed away at 93 years of age. Phil was a mainstay of the San Antonio art scene after moving to Texas from England in the 1950's. He taught at the San Antonio Art Institute for three years and then at Trinity University for twenty six years. He retired to his home and studio in the Hill Country in 1988 to work full time on his wood sculpture and ink drawings. Valley House first exhibited Phil's figurative sculptures in 2003 in the exhibition "Working with Wood." His dry British wit, gentle demeanor, and openness meant he befriended most everyone he met. It is rare to see octogenarian artists continue to produce art with great intensity; it is even more unusual to be able to say that the quality of the work is strong, excites, and continues to be relevant. Phil did this into his 90's. Texas has lost a major force in Texas Sculpture. I feel honored to have represented Phil, and called him my friend. One of my regrets as an art dealer is that Valley House was not representing Phil Evett 30 years earlier. Our hearts go out to his wife Joanne and to all of his friends who will miss him. - Kevin Vogel

>>>> All at Valley House mourn the passing of one of Dallas' most avid arts patrons, Betty Blake, who celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this year. Betty and my father, Donald Vogel, opened the first important modern art gallery, the Betty McLean Gallery, in Dallas in 1951, at the newly developed Preston Center. They brought landmark exhibitions to Dallas, alternating internationally-recognized artists with Texas artists. In 1957, Betty, along with other modern art pioneering women in Dallas, including Lupe Murchison and Betty Marcus, worked hard to create and sustain the Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art. It merged with the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in 1963. Betty Blake was a long-term trustee of the American Federation of the Arts and received their Cultural Leadership Award in 1995. She also served locally on the boards of the Dallas Museum of Art and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. In her last years, Betty regularly visited Valley House on Saturday afternoons to say hello and to see what was new. She was insatiably curious and had a lifelong love of art and artists. We will miss you Betty. - Kevin Vogel

>>>> Be sure to read Rebecca Sherman's magnificent profile on Betty Blake in the October issue of PaperCity magazine.

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For press requests, contact Laura Green at LGreen@valleyhouse.com

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