Artist’s Collection, Wood Reliefs,
October 22 – December 11, 2010

Bihl Haus Arts presented the work of sculptor DANVILLE CHADBOURNE in Retrospective Part 2: Artist’s Collection, Wood Reliefs, 1980-1999,” which closed with a gallery talk (2 pm) and reception (3-5 pm) on Saturday, December 11.

Chadbourne LyricSacred ritual, space and time, ancestor worship, consecrated rites of passage, Danville Chadbourne’s fetishized, ritualized objects stir a collective memory that connects us as human beings to a primordial past.  His sculptures are at once universal truth and private fiction, the constructs of an erudite artist with broad experience in and of the world.  They spring from deep within the artist’s fecund imagination and are inspired by his appreciation for the material culture and ancient traditions of indigenous peoples, about which our knowledge is only fragmentary.  The artist deconstructs archetypes and reassembles their parts into paradoxical and enigmatic imagery open to individual interpretation.  “It is my intention,” says Chadbourne, “to provoke questions, suggest possibilities, and ultimately elicit responses that are more than just intellectual.  I want the viewer to feel something.”

In this selection of Chadbourne’s work, muted warm sepia tones of worn woods bathed in brown paints predominate.  They contrast with passages of subdued complimentary colors: red and green, blue and orange, black and white.  Typical shapes include long narrow flat planks and shallow rectangular boxes constructed from recovered wood, sometimes joined by staples and brads made of recycled copper wire.  Decoration is restricted to incised channels and grooves, shallow pecked recesses, and natural nodes and knots accentuated by hand carving.

Chadbourne WhimsicalChadbourne deliberately weathers and unites the surfaces of these disparate recovered materials, often already weather beaten, with paint applied in layers and scrubbed by hand between coats with rough sandpaper, a process that visually ages the work.  “All things are in constant flux, acted upon by the process of aging and deterioration,” Chadbourne avers, “a process that is observable and that dictates the passage of time”; the artist’s work not only suggests but becomes part of a continuum.

This exhibition, Retrospective II, is the second in a series of retrospectives envisioned by the artist.  The first, at Blue Star Contemporary Art Center in spring 2009, centered on Chadbourne’s large-scale paintings and sculptures made since 1980, works that at the time of the exhibit were in his possession.  That exhibit is being reprised in Lubbock in a slightly different form in November 2010.  Future exhibits will focus on specific media or technique, such as wood reliefs, works on paper, and ceramic vessels, or works thematically or formally united, such as his series of suspended works that explore themes of weightlessness and gravity, or his cycle of Zen-like earthenware mountains.

Danville Chadbourne was born in Bryan, Texas in 1949. He received a BFA in 1971 from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, and an MFA in 1973 from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. After teaching studio art and art history at the college level for 17 years at various institutions, Chadbourne quit teaching in 1989 to devote himself full-time to his art. He has exhibited extensively at both state and national levels, including more than 60 one-person exhibitions. His work is included in numerous private and public collections. He has lived in San Antonio since 1979. For more on Danville, please click here

On Saturday, December 11, 2 pm, Bihl Haus hosted a Bihl Haus Dialog/Diálogo with Anthropologis Megan Biesele, PhD. Sculptor Danville Chadbourne, and Art Historian Kellen Kee McIntyre, PhD.  Megan Biesele, who received her Ph.D. in social anthropology from Harvard University in 1975, has spent the past 40 years working in the areas of language development and human rights of the peoples of Botswana and Namibia, southern Africa. In 2000 she received the Lucy Mair Medal for Applied Anthropology from the Royal Anthropological Institute, London.  Biesele is the author of numerous books, including Shaken Roots: Bushmen of Namibia Today (Johannesburg: Environmental Development Agency, 1990), “Women Like Meat”: The Folklore and Foraging Ideology of the Kalahari Ju/’hoan (Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press and Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993), and Hunters and Gatherers in the Modern World: Conflict, Resistance, and Self-Determination (co-editors, Peter P. Schweitzer and Robert K. Hitchcock. New York: Berghahn Books, 2000).

These programs, free and open to the public, were funded in part by the Texas Commission for the Arts through the City of San Antonio Office of Cultural Affairs.