Blind Alley projects
Chris Powell: through this window
August 19—September 23, 2023
Location: 3317 West 4th Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76107 Hours: daylight
Chris Powell: through this window, August 19—September 23, 2023, Blind Alley projects
Blind Alley projects is pleased to present Chris Powell: through this window, August 19—September 23. Due to extreme heat, a reception with the artist is scheduled later in the exhibition, on Saturday, September 16, 3 to 5pm at the gallery.
Chris Powell is what might be termed, an artist’s-artist based on his commitment to seeing and making in an instinctive, and maybe compulsive manner, that seems as necessary to his life as breath. It is a manner that other artist both envy and admire and those who are paying attention know that there are lessons to be had there. In an artist statement, Powell suggests that one such lesson is to attend to one’s periphery vision because the wonder found there is useful.
Materials become familiar but odd entities that capture the imagination. Found objects subtly manipulated to simultaneously lose and retain their initial identity as they hold space with those forms that result from the artist’s touch. All endearing in their awkwardness that is often in relation to gravity, whether beholden or in precarious defiance.
Powell graciously and poetically offers insight into the work found in through this window with the following statement:
There is a beauty in awkwardness.
These objects appear almost functional in their shape. Their colors are burnt and smoked softened by fire. These objects relate to either the body in size or to the hand in relationship to perceived usage or touch.
I am reaching for shapes and forms that define space and set up a dialog between objects and the viewer.
I don’t want to force in anyway. I want to invite. The importance of my work lies in its casualness and its strength is in its quietness.
Years ago, I would carry my toddler on walks into the prairie behind where we lived. When I tired from carrying him, I would sit and let him explore. One day we stopped at a harvester anthill. We were watching the ants coming and going. ”Look how close together they are!” Wade said. “Yes,” I answered, “they have to squeeze together to get into the nest.” He looked at me and said, “No, not the ants, the pebbles.”
We can see things differently and there is always more to see than what we are directly looking at. Check your peripheral vision.
In true Chris Powell fashion, one of the three elements in Blind Alley will be in flux, with new pieces taking their place on the low round plinth sitting near the front window, changing the conversation and our perceptions. So, for full benefit, it is advisable to make regular visits throughout the run of this show.
Chris Powell is an artist, living and working in Fort Worth, Texas where he is a Professor of Art at TCU, teaching Ceramics and working since 1984. He received an MFA from Bradley University in 1983 and a BFA from ACU in 1980. A recipient of numerous public and private commissions for outdoor sculpture, Powell employs stone, clay, and other traditional materials in sometimes unexpected ways to explore the abstract shapes of plants, animals, and natural phenomena. His practice also includes collecting and employing found objects and a great deal of drawing. Much of his inspiration comes from growing up on a ranch in southwest Arkansas. His work achieves a subtle balance between figurative and non-figurative. His proficiency as a sculptor and ceramist imparts an air of timeless perfection to his deceptively simple exercises in pure form. Powell participates in residencies where he immerses himself in the life and art in cultures distinctly different from his own but with which he has an affinity. These include a 2014 artist residency at Hiroshima City University when he also worked with potters in Bizen, Japan; and most recently a return to Costa Rica 2023 where he worked with potters in Guaitil, learning about making and firing of ceramic objects from indigenous potters. In 2015 Powell built a high fire kiln in southwest Arkansas as part of the Arkansas Tsuchigama Project. This kiln has been fired three times in service to Powell’s own practice as well as using the site and kiln as a means to work with other artists he has met through his travels.
Blind Alley projects is a small, vitrine-like gallery on an empty lot of a residential street in Fort Worth’s Museum district. A glass wall faces the street to allow exhibitions to be viewed from the street. Conceived by artists Terri Thornton and Cam Schoepp, the building—only 8 x 10 ft—was designed in collaboration with Mark and Peter Anderson of Anderson Architecture, with the purpose of exhibiting single works or installations that respond to the conditions and context of the gallery