Parables. New Work, an exhibition of paintings by Fort Worth artist J.T. Grant,
will be on display May 3-June 7 at William Campbell Contemporary Art. An opening
reception will be held Saturday, May 3, 6:00-8:00 p.m.The show will be Grant's
first exhibition after an extended illness. Parables. New Work will feature
Grant's timely yet traditional oil paintings that combine the technical
sophistication of the Old Masters with contemporary imagery and thought
processes. Widely acclaimed for his lush brushwork, intense rendering of light,
and subtly evocative social commentary, J.T. Grant continually brings to the
fore complex conversations between traditional and contemporary art.
Grant remarks: "Lately, I've begun to take apart the picture plane....This is
emblematic of the fact of change. Change may be judged pleasant or disagreeable,
but it is inescapable. Things, people, youth, vanity drop away, new things,
new ideas take their places, but voids are always left." And these voids are
what Grant revels in, turning negative space into positive, and quiet
stillness into something not quite lively, but alive nevertheless.
Oil on canvas
44 x 36 in.
Absence reveals the intricate and evasive details of a paper wasp nest-one that
is perhaps discarded, perhaps teeming with life on the inside. Delicately
painted lines weave around each other as they create autonomous sections that
then coalesce to become one unit. Suspended on the canvas, the nest remains
ungrounded, supported only by a thin, delicate string that disappears into the
hazy background at the top of the canvas. This fragile setup creates a buzz
of potential energy, but also a sense of vulnerability: one tremor and the
whole beautiful form risks destruction. Suggesting the shape of a heart as
well, the painted object further delves into the human condition and explores
the concept of the ephemeral on both universal and personal levels. Such
interplay among elements-visual and metaphoric-typifies Grant's work.
A vast skyscape recalling the oculus paintings of the Baroque, Untitled focuses
on the space humans admire but do not reside. Grounded only by slight treetops,
the swirling, pulsating sky is punctuated by a helicopter-the single and
fleeting indication of humankind's presence here. Perhaps intentional, perhaps
not, the blades of the helicopter are in a cross formation as it appears to
ascend from the dark, agitated clouds into the clearer, lighter area of sky.
Again, the painting conjures themes of impermanence and change, both macro- and
microcosmic. Even as the artist has frozen the objects in time, so too has he
retained the near-tactile energy swirling in the heady, early-evening Texas sky.
Oil on canvas
24 x 18 in.
Grant's new work does in fact explore and reveal multifaceted voids
throughout-sometimes obviously, but more often elusively. Grant hands the
viewer beautifully rendered andtechnically brilliant scenes. The true fulfillment
comes, however, when we gaze intently and thoughtfully to engage on a deeper
level. It is at this point that the many visual and figurative layers of each
painting come alive.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
For more than two decades, acclaimed Fort Worth artist J.T. Grant has
exhibited his work in solo and group shows throughout Texas and across the
United States. Noteworthy juried exhibitions include First Texas Annual and
Art in the Metroplex, where prominent jurors Luis Jimenez and James Surls
awarded him Best in Show for two consecutive years. He was selected to
participate in Texas' Annual Congressional Arts Competition, and was also
recognized as the featured artist in Fort Worth's 2003 Artists Against AIDS
A scholar and teacher as well, Grant has presented lectures and taught art
classes at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TCU, and the Kimbell Art
Museum, where he has given two lectures in the museum's prestigious Artist's
Eye series. In 2011, he organized and directed an art competition for the
Trinity River Vision Authority.
Oil on canvas
40 x 30 in.
Grant's work may be found in various public collections, including those of
the Dallas Museum of Art, the Art Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi,
and the Fort Worth Public Library, among others. He has received commissions
from the Omni Hotel, RadioShack, and Acme Brick in Fort Worth, and in 2008,
he was commissioned to create the Whitehouse Christmas Ornament.
Most recently, Grant painted a Fort Worth cityscape for the boardroom of the
new combat ship, USS Fort Worth-a commission arranged by U.S. Representative
Kay Granger. Additionally, he was featured in the FW Weekly article "Big Man
on Canvas," which appeared in the April 9 issue. His work will also be
featured in Great Artists of the Southwest, a coffee-table book scheduled
for summer publication.
A native of Georgia, J.T. Grant received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth
University and his MFA from TCU.