Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Jay Hester TEXAS- Stories of the Land article in the Spring edition of JRM Quarterly Magazine

J.R. Mooney Galleries is proud to launch their new publication titled: J.R.M. Quarterly Magazine!

The launch of J.R.M. Quarterly Magazine is all about giving an outlet to the daily happenings within the gallery and giving voice to the artists that grace the walls of this institution.

These pages are packed full of educational tidbits about the artworks by our represented artists as well as consultation advice for those beginning to explore the art galleries in their communities.

J.R. M Quarterly  Magazine aims  to use its pages as a vehicle to educate, entertain and enlighten our audience on a variety of topics ranging from reviews, news, artist narratives, interviews, criticism and a wide range of other art related stories from within the gallery walls.

I hope you find this informative and hope you continue to follow the artistic adventures of J.R. Mooney Galleries.



"The articles published in this premier edition of our quarterly magazine include: the seaside aesthetics of glass artist, Mary Hong, abstract paintings of Jim Hatchett, nostalgic qualities of Arthur McCall, the blockbuster exhibition of Jay Hester, and new works by Texas Hill Country artist, Margie Barker."

Over the next few weeks we will showcase each published article  in a five part email campaign to help promote the artwork of these regionally recognized artists.


Today we spotlight the recent article by Katherine Shevchenko on Boerne Artist, Jay Hester and his preparation for his solo exhibition at J.R. Mooney Galleries-Boerne.

Jay Hester: “TEXAS: Stories of the Land”

Jay Hester, a well respected artist also affectionately known as the “Godfather” of the Boerne art scene, returns in a prodigious and monumental fashion with his first solo exhibition of paintings in almost twenty years.  “TEXAS: Stories of the Land” is his inaugural showing at J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art-Boerne.  This show will open on October 8th with a reception with the artist in attendance and will be on display until November 5th at the Boerne gallery location.

Mr. Hester decided to chronicle pivotal events from the Texas historical canon that have taken on near mythic proportions due to their legendary status in their significance in shaping Texas’ socio-cultural landscape.  Hester has prominently focused on the early days of the first settlers in the Texas area and the pivotal trials and tribulations of their encounters with the native Indian tribes of the land in times of war and the eventual culmination of treaty signings and the first sowings of peaceful relations.

Gallery director, Gabriel Diego Delgado further discusses his motivations in the show’s formulation, “I thought we could curate an exhibition directly related to this endeavor.  I feel with his unique artist’s voice of Texas history, he would develop a wonderful sensibility; a kind of mystical approach mixed with self-imposed artistic liberties… depicting these often violent times.”  The gallery shall become a platform in which “to give Jay Hester a voice in telling the various historical legends of Texas…”  Hester has been a seasoned and avid scholar in the story of the American Southwest for many years.  According to his wife, Judy, “Jay has a deep interest in Western and Native American art and has read and researched these subjects for years following his relocation to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1980.”  The exhibition is another chapter in the artistic journey of Hester, with his knowledge and aesthetic interest in preserving Texas’ rugged past in oil paint.  “This passion has overlapped an opportunity through J.R. Mooney Gallery to express myself artistically in this personal way," Hester elaborates.

The beginnings of this exhibition started in the early months of 2016, when Hester sat down with Delgado to discuss the possibilities of scope and theme of his upcoming show.  Delgado remarked on the early stages of the process, “Sitting down with the artist, we discussed aspects of various legends, historical figures and geography to see how we could pick and pull together aspects of surrounding regions to tell a cohesive story of South Texas, making it relevant to the populations of these regions; the paintings acting as historical lessons, tied as much to education as to aesthetic.”  With many ideas just beginning to get formulated, Hester undergoes the preparation by diligently sketching rough compositional drawings on napkins at his favorite breakfast diner each morning.  The sketches are then developed into more refined finalized drawings that are transferred to his canvases to be rendered in oils, with, of course, diligent research to maintain historical accuracy.  "I spend many hours alone in my studio, as you may guess is the case with most creative people.  I am not always at the easel, but for this show in particular, I have read and reread articles and parts of books detailing Texas events.  I have reviewed photographic images for accuracy.”  Many discoveries have been woven into Hester’s dramatic vision bringing Texas history to life and infusing it onto the canvas.  According to Hester, "I knew some about the German migration and early settlement having lived in Boerne for over 20 years.  However, there is a wealth of small details that gave me greater respect and appreciation of the people of this area as Texas grew and expanded.”  As he works in the studio creating his works, his process is akin to storytelling.  “Much like a writer choosing just the right words or using too few or too many words to tell a story, deciding on the right size canvas for the composition, the number of subjects that will adequately fill the space, or the shape of the landscape that best depicts what I am trying to say in my work, [it] is a daunting task.”

A quintessential character that made immense contributions to the San Antonio and greater Boerne area was the doctor Ferdinand Ludwig Herff.   One of his immense accomplishments is captured in a large scale painting that recreates the infamous cataract surgery he performed on a Comanche chief; a meticulous operation that was performed outdoors without anesthesia.  This operation saved the chieftain’s eyes and aided in paving a transition to smoother relations between the settlers and native tribes in the forthcoming years.  Hester recounts on why he chose Dr. Herff in particular, “One of the most notable people that came from Germany was Dr. Herff.  He was an exceptional man, noble in character and gifted as a surgeon in his time.  His persona needs to be celebrated and given this platform of a solo show highlighting his story.  That is what I will attempt to do."

In the experience of wisdom gleaned from many seasons, Hester is taking more time now to contemplate and let the creative well renew itself, saying, “I often realize that I may need more rest in between long stretches at the easel.  My spirit needs recharging when my work is in question or I am off in some way.  My answer always is more time is necessary for a better result.”  As anticipation mounts and the exhibition opening date draws near, Delgado shares the aspirations that underlay the foundation for such a venture, “I hope that an exhibition of this caliber would show the collectors, patrons and appreciators of Hester’s art that at 70+ years old Hester is still a masterful craftsman in his signature genre, illustrating that he is constantly pushing his visual capabilities.”  In questioning Hester on what he has done unique to this exhibition’s specific conceptual needs, the answer still remains to be seen, “Not until the show is over can I really know what I would do differently.  I always say I strive for the best result, as I do hope these pieces will show."

J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art present:
“TEXAS: Stories of the Land” an art exhibition by Jay Hester
Opening Reception: October 8, 2016 - 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at J.R. Mooney Galleries in Boerne
Exhibition dates: October 8, 2016 - November 5, 2016
© Katherine Shevchenko, Art Consultant, J.R. Mooney Galleries, Boerne

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