Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Doss and Illusions

I’m sitting here, with a cup of hot coffee, making a quick visit via FaceBook, and it occurs to me that despite all the frustrating, maddening news of each day, the opportunity to see messages from friends across the nation (world) is  terrific way to start a morning.

Yesterday,with a daughter,we braved the heat and visited the Doss Heritage Center to see the new Illusions exhibit. As we walked down the long loggia  leading from the handicapped parking.(my strength is still rather limited), I could not help but admire the architecture itself and appreciate the building and its setting..

This is not a museum with long halls of permanent exhibits of  scenes from the past  or of  unusual archeological findings… someday there may be space for such, for I am sure there is an abundance of both among the county’s residents. Perhaps, instead, they will be grouped under a common theme, making them even more interesting.  

At present, a beautiful stage coach, built by the late Jay Brown of Parker County, dominates the large entry room and many small antique artifacts related to Parker County’s history are displayed nearby.

There is also a room devoted to Weatherford’s beloved Mary Martin. It is filled with mementos of her life  and that of her son Larry Hagman, probably best remembered for his J.R. role in Dallas.

The Center’s recent exhibits have been nothing less than awesome. The Connecting Threads exhibit featuring tapestries by Sherri Woodard Coffey and Masks by Pat Souder remains on view but a exhibits of paintings  and sculptures has replaced the impressive needlework exhibit of the last few months.

Walk in the entrance to this exhibit and your first thought may be “Where are the paintings?” The walls are lined with a variety of hangings some appearing to be interesting arrangements of wooden blocks, some appearing as framed needlework.
What you are seeing is neither! All are indeed paintings and fully express the exhibit’s title, Truth in Illusion featuring the works of Michael Bane and Pamela Stern.

Take a closer look the  sculptures may hold a few surprises and the wall’s displays definitely will. All are definitely paintings of the most amazing type. One,a small piece, appears to be a be a photograph of a thread of mohair attractively arranged in a circle. It is instead, a painting with each fine bit of fuzz so accurately portrayed that you can almost feel its softness and if you’re one of those who are allergic to mohair you may expect your nose to begin to tickle.

One of the first pieces on view is a large matted and framed picture of the Last Supper. Each detail was reproduced by tiny brush strokes or perhaps more accurately, brush touches. Every facial feature, each article of clothing, every shadow and a 3-dimensional effect is achieved with a variety of minute touches of what must have been tiny brushes so delicate that the work had to be done with magnifying help.

The “mat” which appeared to be of linen, was painted, each inch of its entire length showing linen’s distinctive weave…all done in paint. To so accurately reproduce with paint, several yards of  woven fabric is an amazing feat. The same applies to the “wooden” frame…all done with paint. The artist stated that the work took him thirteen months, which is also amazing. I would have guessed several years.

Across the room were hangings of interesting arrangements of wooden strips and blocks some joined by tiny screws.  Closer examination shows no wood exists, only paint with every varying grain of wood accurately created with paint and the screws’ appearance so accurate that one feels the urge to test their tiny slot and turn it a wee bit.

These are only a few of the outstanding works of these artists.

If seeing is believing, this Truth in Illusions exhibit is well worth seeing but it remains almost unbelievable.

My coffee is cold!