RETROSPECTIVE PART 1: ARTIST’S COLLECTION 1980 – 2009
April 2 – June 16, 2009
Featuring Danville Chadbourne
Blue Star Contemporary Art Center will present the first in a series of retrospective exhibitions by San Antonio artist Danville Chadbourne. All works in the exhibition are from the artist’s collection, focusing on significant large-scale paintings and sculptures created after the artist moved to San Antonio, dating from 1980 to the present. Future exhibitions at various venues are currently being planned that will highlight different aspects of the artist’s oeuvre.
The Blue Star exhibition is comprised of approximately 30 paintings and sculptures representative of significant themes and forms from the time period, as well as juxtapositions of materials, especially clay and wood.
Known for his craftsmanship and use of primal materials such as wood and clay, Chadbourne’s work is often likened to a body of cultural artifacts. The visual and ritual impact of these beautiful objects is made more complex by their provocative, poetic and often paradoxical titles. They are, in essence, monuments to irrational ideas and human impulses.
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, Texas. After teaching studio art and art history at the college level for 17 years at various institutions, Chadbourne quit teaching 1989 to devote himself full-time to his art. He has exhibited extensively at both state and national levels, including more than 50 one-person exhibitions. His work is included in numerous private and public collections.
Primarily a sculptor in clay and wood, Chadbourne works in a range of materials and in both two- and three-dimensional formats. Over the years he has created a complex body of work unified by a primal iconography and artifact-like quality emerging from a very personal and consistent formal, aesthetic and philosophical sense. He has lived in San Antonio, Texas since 1979.
Essentially, my work is concerned with the evocation of spiritual or primal states, using simple organic forms, often in suggestive conjunctions that elaborate metaphorically primary issues of ambiguity, morality, accident/intention, contradiction or even existence. Frequently there is an allusion to circumstance, contextual usage, and time as a condition of the work, but it appears in a peripheral, indirect, or generalized way, never specific or obvious. I have chosen by personal evolution to use forms and images that appear to be part of some culture with an elaborate mythological structure, never quite defined, but evidently interrelated. I am concerned with the intellectual speculation that we make regarding other cultures, especially primitive or ancient ones based on our observation of their artifacts. This anthropological perception is a key issue in my work.
Formally, I use relatively simple sculptural images, sometimes static like monuments, other times active, dynamic forms that suggest some usage, often ritualistic. I also tend to use materials and processes that imply cultural attitudes that are harmonious with nature and the passage of time. Clay has the most associative power in archeological terms and easily responds to the expressive needs of my ideas as well as being rather permanent and durable. Wood, stone, fiber, bone, and some found objects also work effectively as materials charged with connotative powers in this context. Hopefully, each element, as well as the whole body of work, contributes to the total effect of rediscovering an artifact that is evidently outside of our culture at one level, but reflects a kind of universal human consciousness and ultimately stimulates the perception of our own personal existence.