This final installation of John Wilcox’s work in the Wilcox Space grew out of an interest in the complexity of Wilcox’s techniques and his devotion to the craft of painting. The impetus for this installation began in 2014 at the Dallas Museum of Art when Laura Hartman and Mark Leonard began examining a Wilcox polyptych, Crucifix, 1989 in preparation for a treatment of the work. A review of the work revealed Wilcox made his own pigment for three of the four panels in the polyptych – one made of clay from the Red River in Texas, one from dust composed of sawdust, and one from finely ground wood ash. Closely examining Wilcox’s techniques has opened a whole new level of understanding and appreciations for his body of work and his meticulous craft as an artist.
Laura Hartman is Associate Paintings Conservator at the Dallas Museum of Art. Arthur Peña is a contemporary painter, writer and Visiting Associate Professor in Painting at the University of North Texas. Together they bring the expertise of a conservator and the perspective of a painter in selecting works that highlight some of Wilcox’s techniques. These works reveal a host of techniques involving sanding and repeated applications of paint to the canvas, etching canvases, and utilizing miniscule applications of paint on color backgrounds that were either washed or sanded. While this installation is on view the Conservation Studio at the Dallas Museum of Art will be conducting a detailed scientific analysis and treatment of the work Crucifix.
At the close of this installation In the fall of 2018, the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History at the University of Texas at Dallas will assume stewardship of The Wilcox Space for an initial three-year pilot period dedicated to the exhibition and documentation of the work of significant artists of the later 20thand earlier 21stcenturies in Texas with particular focus on painting and abstraction (both broadly defined).