There is something severe yet intriguing — like the Texas Panhandle itself — about the work of two Amarillo artists having their first show in Oklahoma City at Paseo Originals Art Gallery, 2920 Paseo.
The “Here & Now, Iconography of the Great Plains” exhibit contains the oil-and-watercolor-on-board paintings of Andrew Scott DeJesse and the metal sculpture of Jacob Breeden, founder-owner of an Amarillo gallery.
Combining some of the fine detail of watercolor with the painterliness of oil, DeJesse's works have an almost Andrew Wyeth-like stillness, bordering on the bleak, and a sense of the fine line between life and death.
A young woman lying full-length on top of the white sheets of a single bed, wearing her “Sunday's Best” clothes, could either be trying to take a nap before church or be laid out for her own funeral and burial.
Even more Wyeth-like is a DeJesse picture whose focal point is a “Brush Clearing” tool, propped against the side of a dead log, in front of a pile of straw or hay, with a white, perhaps derelict house, on the horizon.
Bright sunlight gives a happier feeling to DeJesse's painting of a cow in a field, partly turned toward us, although its title, “Tanned Hide,” subliminally suggests the fate of eventually being slaughtered of many cattle.
Nor is there any mistaking the downbeat visual message of “Cappella di Soldati,” a painting of a dark path, with snow on each side, leading, between high barbed-wire fences, to the chapel of an old Italian prisoner-of-war camp.
There is something nearly ghostlike about DeJesse's painting of a windblown “Dry Line” of clothes beside a white building and his depiction of an abandoned structure on “Last Stand Hill.”
A young girl drags the dead object of a “Rabbit Drive” through tall, tangled grass, and a wolf or coyote makes “The Great Escape” from its hard life, by getting killed and hung up on a fence, in two more works by DeJesse.
Conveying an almost surreal feeling is DeJesse's painting of the “Afternoon Moon” over an old Victorian house, while a man walking “Through the Field” stands waist-deep in grain with arms spread, looking toward clouds forming.
DeJesse is a native of New Jersey who moved to Texas to pursue art. California-born and Texas-raised, Breeden founded Process Art House in Amarillo.
Making use of welded and sometimes rusted steel, brass, copper and found objects, displayed on the floor, pedestals or wall, Breeden's creations have a strong, gestural, crudely effective sculptural presence.
Steel circles within circles are attached to a metal pole, welded into a rusted, two-wheel cart of sorts, its back half dragging the ground, in Breeden's “Let It Go,” to name a case in point.
Resembling a strong, semi-abstract figure is Breeden's “The Audacity of Greek,” in which a hanging rusted spring becomes the free, variable element, helping to connect several colliding metal planes.
The two-person show is recommended viewing during its run through Sept. 29 at the gallery.
— John Brandenburg
‘Here & Now, Iconography of the Great Plains'
• Where: Paseo Originals Art Gallery, 2920 Paseo.
• When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.
• Information: Call 604-6602 or go online to www.Paseo