Ted Kincaid's "Cloud 1015," 2015
Dallas artist Ted Kincaid is handsome, affable and highly articulate. He also has enjoyed a long and successful career since the early ’90s, when he exhibited with Barry Whistler Gallery. Though decades have passed since his initial foray into the North Texas art universe, his fascination with a thoroughly “real” world versus a manipulated — or fabricated — version of reality has remained constant. Thus, he has deftly explored with nuance and brilliance the liminal realm that oscillates between representation and abstraction.
His newest exhibition, Monday’s Romance is Tuesday’s Sad Affair, is beautiful, but it also raises a number of fascinating questions. In fact, Kincaid is pushing the proverbial envelope by referencing a significant canon of Western works. Two of his pieces are especially intriguing.
The first is Tondo Thunderhead 723 (Bellini 2), 2015 — it’s a gloriously rendered cloud taken from a portion of Bellini’s painting Christ Blessing, circa 1500. Bellini, of course, is known as one of the spectacular painters of the Italian Renaissance and utilizes what one could term a “Venetian palette.” In other words, he frequently uses brilliant blues and golden tones — all of which are found in abundance in his native city in northeastern Italy. Gorgeous skies and water are an obvious inspiration for his beautifully rich tints and atmospheric shading. Thus, Kincaid’s luxuriant and painterly iteration of Bellini’s work reminds us just how deeply color can make us dive. He ambitiously captures the tone of the early master; it’s a strident move on his part — and it becomes a mesmerizing experience for viewers as well.
Yet another piece, Tondo Thunderhead 511 (Breugel), 2015, utilizes a similar technique — however, the coloration and its effects are utterly different. The contrast between the Northern European palette and that of Venice are striking. Kincaid’s piece, literally a slice taken from a work by Pieter Breugel, is moody and gray, with pared-back bluish tones. Yet again, the work that Kincaid “deconstructed” to create his own art is reminiscent of Breugel’s native Flemish landscape — and the tonal lineage remains true to its roots.
This can become an occasion to ponder the nature of genius loci and its effect on artists of every sort. Interesting analogies can be found in literature — Don DeLillo and Phillip Roth, for instance, are inextricably linked with Manhattan, and a similar analogy could be made regarding the American South and William Faulkner. It’s a reminder that art arises within a particular milieu and — literally — is saturated with the ground from which it springs.
Kincaid does a masterful job of reminding us of both artistic patrimony and the ways in which inspiration changes and evolves. His show also features pieces that are a virtual paean to Frederick Church and, of course, the concomitant images are thoroughly American. Put simply, Kincaid provides an opportunity for us to muse on both European and American art by invoking new contexts for us to consider. This is a fine show by one of Dallas’s most lauded artists and, as an addendum, I inquired about the name of the show — Monday’s Romance is Tuesday’s Sad Affair. Kincaid’s answer was both surprising and candid: “There is literally no significance to the title. It is a line from the Boz Skaggs song I fell in love with and have wanted to use for years.” So, there.
Go see Kincaid’s new show at Talley Dunn Gallery and you’ll likely be smitten; it’s a fascinating reminder that we’re incarnate beings made for luxuriating in beauty.
Ted Kincaid, Monday’s Romance is Tuesday’s Sad Affair, August 29 – October 24, 2015, at Talley Dunn Gallery.