J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art:
Art Tips, Reviews, Fine Art, and Custom Framing News
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
The Explore Magazine and other treats
We would like to thank the Explore Magazine and SMV Publishing for the wonderful article on Jay Hester in the current edition of September 2016 Explore Magazine.
Please take a moment to read the great two page spread written by
Gallery Director, Gabriel Delgado. The insightful curatorial essay helps
bring an insider perspective to Jay Hester's upcoming solo exhibition,
which opens October 8, 2016.
***(As published in the Sept. 2016 edition of The Explore Magazine)***
History Told Through the Artistic Lens
An essay exploring the curatorial theme and historical aspects of Jay Hester: “TEXAS – Stories of the Land”
-Gabriel Diego Delgado
is history that is based on hard, documented fact; history that is
colored with rumor, speculation, or falsehood; and history that exists
in what might be termed the hinterlands of the imagination.” - S.C. Gwynne
In S.C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon, a book on the rise
and fall of the Comanche tribe, the nonfiction writer pens a simplistic
sentence that encapsulates a complementing narrative to the preceding
introduction of the upcoming solo exhibition by Boerne artist, Jay
Hester, at J.R. Mooney Galleries. The statement addresses the
chronological irregularities of scholarly history in which we draw
historical conclusions based on writers, historians, and deemed
academics’ biased or unbiased judgement of events that shaped these
In Jay Hester: “TEXAS – Stories of the Land,” a solo art exhibition at
the J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art in Boerne, opening October 8,
2016, the artist visually pieces together a multitude of historic
‘stories’: encounters between the Texas Rangers and the Comanche and
Apache tribes; raids and battles in Linnville and Plum Creek, Texas;
stoic pioneering personas; and monumental peace treaty signings.
Historians have spent years, decades and centuries putting together
accounts of famous and not so famous encounters, battles, raids, and
ambushes of the Native American tribes on western migratory settlers and
European immigrants as they built homesteads, colonies and compounds to
fulfill their need for a place to call home. As an artist, Jay Hester
deeply commits himself to preserving the historical value of these
narratives of heartache and triumph. In the new artworks, Hester is
influenced by the early era of Texas independence, its seceding
mentalities, the Texas Rangers, Native American tribes, cultural
skirmishes, pioneering visions, religious and political freedoms, harsh
realities and the people that lived and died in the frontier lines of
Comancheria. “This show gives me a perfect opportunity to
retell these stories and other historical events in the only way I
know...through my art,” he says.
By sharing their ‘stories’ through his artistic talent and signature
western genre of painting, Hester strives to be true to the city he
calls home, the families he respects, and the heroes and antiheroes he
holds in high esteem. In an article in the September/October, 2016
edition of Cowboys & Indians Magazine, writer Dana Joseph
quotes Hester as stating, “I developed Texas stories through the
colorful characters of the times.” This is an accurate description of
his newest visual selections that give remembrance, credence, and
reverence to an era wrought with swift justice, vigilante mobs, vast
armies and the unforgiving principles of manifest destiny. Not always
culturally sensitive, empathy driven or politically correct, these
‘stories’ are, however, important to remember and Hester dives deep to
accomplish summarized compositional renditions for the gallery.
The largest artwork in the exhibition is a masterful piece titled The Healer.
This 48” x 60” oil on canvas painting has Hester elegantly leading the
audience through Dr. Herff’s pioneering cataract surgery in the 1800’s
that saved a Comanche Chief’s eyesight. Derived from online research,
published accounts, passages from Early Texas Physicians, 1830-1915: Innovative, Intrepid, Independent
by the Texas Surgical Society, as well as a rewarding conversation with
Juanita Herff Chipman, a direct descendant of Dr. Herff, Hester was
able to piece together a panoramic view of how the surgery actually
occurred. He alludes to the fact that the surgery laid the groundwork
for a mutual understanding between some of the Native Americans and the
early settlers of Boerne. "Dr. Herff became a larger than life figure
in our area with all he accomplished as a young doctor in this uncertain
country. His fair treatment of all people gained him respect by many
tribes of Indians, as well as the rugged settlers of this part of
Texas,” says Hester.
also references this medical driven truce in other paintings in the
“Stories of the Land” exhibition, as he walks through the days, months,
and years that followed that memorable operation. We learn of the
Mexican girl that was gifted to the Herff family as a sign of gratitude
for the doctor’s care, her rise within the Herff family and her
fairytale-like marriage into an astute and reputable German family. In
another painting we see the white feathered arrow that was shot into the
fence post of the Herff family ranch (currently the Cibolo Nature
Center and Farm) years later by raiding Native Americans, a visual
indication of “peace” to this property, a signal that spared the Herff
homestead during their pillaging, looting and attacks on settlers in the
Boerne area. Through Hester we can witness the discovery of Edge Falls
by the Comanche Nation. This mystical waterfall and swimming hole on
the border of Boerne and Bergheim, Texas later became a sacred watering
ground for several of the tribes that roamed these southern lands.
Balancing the narrative between Native American portrayals and the
“white man’s” western expansion, Hester relies on his formulaic teeter
tottering of serene imagery. For Hester, Texas Ranger John “Jack
Coffee” Hays plays an intrinsic role in Texas history and is present in
several of his new artworks. With his trusted scout Flacco, Hays and
their horses trot through Joshua Creek, creating a picturesque landscape
painting complete with the majestic limestone quarries, cliffs, and
bends of the riverbed that runs perpendicular to Interstate 10 West
outside Comfort, Texas. In another, Hester places the audience in a
tense shoot-out with Hays and a Comanche party in a crevice at Enchanted
Rock. In this painting the artist visually references the role that
the new five-shooter Paterson Colt played in Hays’s survival; an
often-deliberated fact trundled in Texas folklore.
Sometimes history is too jumbled to be believed, where ‘truth is
stranger than fiction.’ Case in point, Hester indulges us with his
unique perspective of the Linnville raiding war party on their way to
Plum Creek (now Lockhart, Texas). We see the incoming party silhouetted
with their looted bounty of stovepipe hats, parasols, long
pigeon-tailed coats and ribbons. Tonkawa Indians served as Hays’s
scouts, outfitted with white armbands and headbands to serve as visual
indicators to separate them from the incoming aggressors. Hester
delivers a composition that sets the audience behind the front line of
Tonkawa scouts; we are, in essence, Hays’s Ranger outfit, poised for
Rounding out the exhibition is a painting titled “Lasting Friendship”
with a subject matter more familiar to Hester, the Meusebach Peace
Treaty of Fredericksburg, Texas. In 1996, Hester created a monumental
bronze sculpture of John O. Meusebach and Chief Buffalo Hump sharing a
tobacco peace pipe; a visual depiction of the treaty signing between the
Comanche Indians and the German settlers that was unveiled on the 150th
anniversary of the city of Fredericksburg, and is currently installed
at Fredericksburg’s Markt Platz.
When asked about the “Lasting Friendship” painting, Hester
states, “Once again, learning about the German influence and the
relationship with the Comanche tribes that roamed the Hill Country…gave
me inspiration for my artistic creations."
Jay Hester: “TEXAS – Stories of the Land” runs through November 5, 2016
at J. R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art in Boerne. More information for
this exhibition can be found on the gallery’s website at www.jrmooneygalleries.com and the artist’s website at www.jhestergallery.com.
J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art is a full service fine art retail
gallery, specializing in Texas vintage, local & regional, and
contemporary art and is coupled with a world-renowned custom frame
shop. Locations are 305 S. Main St. in Boerne, Texas (830-816-5106) and
8302 Broadway in San Antonio, Texas (210-828-8214). Gallery Hours:
San Antonio – Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm; Boerne – Tuesday
through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm.
-----Disclosure: Gabriel Diego Delgado is the Gallery Director of
J.R. Mooney Galleries of Fine Art- Boerne and the acting curator of Jay
Hester: “TEXAS – Stories of the Land”
Mooney Galleries of Fine Art is proud to partner with the Cibolo Nature
Center and Ranch for their annual luncheon gala. We are very excited to
announce that this year, J.R. Mooney will be displaying "The Healer",
by Jay Hester in front of Dr. Herff's homestead in Boerne. A wonderful
juxtaposition of eras.
Be sure to buy your tickets today for this wonderful nonprofit and land conservancy endeavor.
"The Healer", Jay Hester, oil on canvas, 48" x 60", $40,000, 2016
Jay Hester and J.R. Mooney Galleries are featured in the new edition of ART OF THE WEST magazine!!
Thank you to Tom Tierney for making this happen!
Mooney Galleries would also like to thank Dana Joseph at COWBOYS &
INDIANS Magazine for the great article she wrote on Jay Hester, leading
into his solo exhibition. Mrs. Joseph was captivated by Hester's career
and his research on the historical significance of his subjects.
This article can be found in the new edition of COWBOYS & INDIANS.