Sally Maxwell’s "Robin in Crocus," 1988, at Red & White Gallery, Fayetteville. Maxwell is one of a very few talents in the country who is keeping alive the lost art of scratchboard. (Courtesy the artist and gallery)
Sally Maxwell’s "African Leopard," 2014, at Red & White Gallery, Fayetteville. The artist is obsessed with big cats. (Courtesy the artist and gallery)
The charming Red & White Gallery in the Hill Country hamlet of Fayetteville — not your usual small-town art stop.
Jesús Moroles's "Rings of Granite" was exhibited in 2013. The Herrings, owners of Red & White, published the artist's definitive survey volume in 2004. (Courtesy of artist and gallery)
Laura Wilson's "Dapple Gray with Lace," 2006. Wilson, whose subjects range from Laredo debs to Friday night football games, is mom to Luke and Owen Wilson. (Courtesy the artist and gallery)
Everything old is new again, and the pleasures of the fauna of the Hill Country and the African savannah both provide inspiration and subject for an artist living in La Grange, Texas. But the medium she works in also lends intrigue to our story.
How many of us have heard of the 19th-century illustration technique that she so beautifully reprises? Talk about a throwback.
Avidly collected but rarely exhibited, Sally Maxwell is an underground sensation for her way with the lost art of scratchboard and for conjuring finely detailed images that honor an amalgamation of the animal kingdom, from the humble robin to the big cats of Africa.
Our favorite arts destination in the Texas countryside, Red & White Gallery, nestled in the town square of the hamlet of Fayetteville, debuts a retrospective of Maxwell’s dramatic, lyrical creations informed by nature, rendered in the intensive technique of scratchboard, which involves plenty of sharp tools and paper coated with white clay and black ink. Acquire a work for your rural retreat and/or snap up Maxwell’s first book, Sally Maxwell: Scratching the Surface (RFA Publishing, Denver; $65 hardcover; collectors will want to nab to special edition for $2,000, featuring a bounty of 10 prints).
Now a bit on the back story of how the gallery and its celebrated — and rather unexpected — exhibitions program came to be. The charming white cube is owned and directed by renaissance design duo Joan and Jerry Herring; the couple, formerly of Houston, are publishing powerhouses with a niche imprint, Herring Press, who are best known for publishing the handsome, definitive 2004 survey on sculptor Jesús Moroles. Moroles, a Texas Artist of the Year and National Medal of Arts talent, was also showcased at their gallery in his solo, “Rings of Granite” in 2013.
Dallas-based artist and photographer Laura Wilson is also one of the stars of the Red & White stable. She began her camera career as an assistant to Richard Avedon, an experience memorialized in her book Avedon at Work, one of her four published photo volumes. Wilson’s signature series, “West,” was shown to great acclaim at Red & White in 2014. (Wilson is also mom to actor sons Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson.)
And when you go to Fayetteville, we recommend a stay in one of the historic properties owned by the Herrings, under the Blackbird Farm Lodging umbrella.
Sally Maxwell: Scratching the Surface,” through June 11, at Red & White Gallery, 102 W. Main St. on the Historic Square, Fayetteville, 713.824.9433, redandwhitegallery.com. Be there for Maxwell’s final personal appearance and talk, Saturday, June 11, 3 pm at Red & White Gallery. (You can also acquire a volume then.)