The Art of Found Objects: Interviews with Texas Artists

By Robert Craig Bunch | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

The past century of art history has witnessed a revolution in the use of found materials, sparked by Picasso’s (fig. 1) and Braque’s 1912 forays into cut and pasted papers. Duchamp would soon follow suit with his “readymades” of found objects. A world of materials found comfortable homes in Dada, Surrealism, Arte Povera, Fluxus, Land Art, Installation Art, Conceptualism, and other movements and trends. Anything and everything was potentially a medium of art. While drawing, painting, and carved, modeled, or cast sculpture continue to thrive, found materials are ubiquitous and their use is second nature to contemporary artists.

Yet outside the mainstreams of modern and contemporary art, the appropriation of found materials for artistic purposes is perhaps as ancient as art itself. The pigments of the cave painters were found—as were the walls they adorned. Bone, shell, rock, clay, horn, and feather have served artists from millennia past to the present day. Children and other “outsiders” to the art world have always found it natural to appropriate whatever materials were readily at hand.

From this project’s beginning it was my intention to interview artists who work with found materials. For some, a profound feeling for certain found objects is the inspiration; for others, the choice of materials always serves a larger end. They may find their materials in the street, in their home, in an antique shop, on the studio floor, in the media, or in the natural world—anywhere, really, short of an art supply store with paints, brushes, canvas, plaster, or other traditional art materials to be traditionally employed. Yet as I write, I picture paintbrushes used as found elements in artworks by Steve Wiman and Bert Long. But isn’t that the case with found materials in art generally? They live a second, third, or fourth life that nature or manufacturer (as the case may be) did not intend or foresee.


Rationale

This book is intended for the art-curious everywhere. While it is Texans who by proximity and natural inclination will gravitate most to its subject, it is the larger world beyond Texas that has the most to learn. It will be enlightened and occasionally, I hope, astounded. The fact that the artists have lived and worked in Texas—the vast majority still do—does not make them regionalist artists by style, subject matter, or any other obvious measure. Yet like artists everywhere, they are almost necessarily influenced consciously or subconsciously by the geography, people, concerns, or materials with which they are most intimately in touch. Allusions to Texas in the pieces reproduced here from the works of Celia Álvarez Muñoz, Gary Sweeney, and Jonathan Rosenstein are atypical of their oeuvres and anything but stereotypical.

Beyond the art itself, no source is more primary to understanding art and artist than his or her words. After all, who can speak with more authority about their own influences, motivations, methods, philosophies, and creations? Amazingly enough, there exists no prior book of interviews with artists from across Texas. (Susie Kalil edited an extremely important, and underknown, issue of the magazine Art Lies [no. 24, Fall 1999], “devoted entirely to interviews with Texas artists born before the early 1940s,” including several featured in this book.) Since 2010 I have interviewed more than sixty of Texas’ finest artists with the

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The Art of Found Objects: Interviews with Texas Artists
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Margaret Adie 9
  • Helen Altman 12
  • Celia Álvarez Muñoz 14
  • The Art Guys- Michael Galbreth 17
  • Jack Massing 19
  • Frances Bagley 22
  • Karin Broker 25
  • Maureen Brouillette 28
  • Steve Brudniak 31
  • Margarita Cabrera 35
  • Eugene W. R. Campbell Jr 38
  • Danville Chadbourne 40
  • Claire Cusack 46
  • Robert Dampier 48
  • Roberto del Rio 51
  • Martin Delabano 54
  • Vernon Fisher 58
  • Trenton Doyle Hancock 60
  • Vincent Hannemann 62
  • Ann Harithas 66
  • Dana Harper 69
  • Joseph Havel 71
  • Tracy Hicks 73
  • Paul Horn 77
  • Otis Huband 79
  • Christopher Hynes 81
  • Barbara Irwin 83
  • Joy Jenkins 85
  • Norman Kary 89
  • Mimi Kato 93
  • Sharon Kopriva 96
  • Laura Jean Lacy 98
  • Marilyn Lanfear 101
  • Lance Letscher 104
  • Ken Little 106
  • Bert L. Long Jr 111
  • Jesse Lott 115
  • Edward Lane McCartney 117
  • Mary McCleary 121
  • Leila McConnell 124
  • Kelly O’Connor 127
  • Mari Omori 129
  • Kathleen Packlick 131
  • Angelica Paez 134
  • Kevin Parmer 136
  • Forrest Prince 139
  • Russell Prince 142
  • Dario Robleto 144
  • Aaron Roe 147
  • Jonathan Rosenstein 149
  • John Mark Sager 151
  • Joel Sampson 154
  • Ward Sanders 156
  • Luke Savisky 158
  • Kelly Sears 163
  • Al Souza 165
  • Julie Speed 167
  • James Michael Starr 169
  • Henry Stein 173
  • Gary Sweeney 175
  • Cecil Touchon 177
  • Patrick Turk 181
  • Janet L. Waldrop 184
  • Debbie Wetmore 186
  • Steve Wiman 188
  • Sources and Further Reading 191
  • Index 199
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