The Holly Johnson Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Color Culture: Themes and Deviations, a survey of multi-media works on linen and paper by Christopher French. A reception for the artist will be held Friday, February 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit continues through March 24, 2007.
The body of work presented for the first time in Dallas explores the artist’s continued interest in conceptual issues related to perception. For more than twenty years Braille has played a significant role in French’s process. His use of Braille paper in recent work is no longer for its implied text. Instead, the artist uses the raised dots of Braille graph paper to plot the arrangement of painted circles restricted by rules chosen by the artist at the outset. The results of this systematic geometry are surprisingly refined and diverse, and anything but predictable.
When asked about his work French states, "My approach to making art catalyzed in 1986, when I found a book of Braille paper on the streets of New York. At first only the vigorous textures of the paper caught my eye, but I quickly became fascinated with the textual as well as the textural potential of my materials. Indeed, by 1991 the text had become the image, with each series of seemingly abstract paintings stimulated by a historical work of literature."
The palette of each painting resonates in a way that could only be the result of the artist's own intuitive choices and sense of color. The colors themselves are often limited to families of color - modulations of red, yellow or blue, warm or cool, light or dark. Ultimately French’s works are intricate explorations of color, texture, and form - combined in ways to simultaneously connote harmony and contradiction.
Christopher French, originally from the Washington D.C. area is known foremost as a painter, but also as a curator, arts administrator, art critic, and teacher of art. In 2000 French moved to Houston from Washington D.C. His work has been widely exhibited in Texas, on both coasts, and abroad, yet this is his first solo exhibition in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He has received a Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County Fellowship (2003), a Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship (1999), a Cité Internationale des Arts Residency Grant (1996), and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1993). In 2003 Clint Willour of the Galveston Art Center organized a twelve year survey of the artist’s work. The exhibition traveled to Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX and Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, TX. His work can be found in the Washington D.C. collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Goethe-Institut, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the National Museum of American Art, as well as corporate collections: Hewlett-Packard, Progressive, and Sallie Mae, Inc. Recent articles on his work include reviews in The Washington Post, Art Papers, Artlies, ARTnews, Houston Press, Glasstire, Los Angeles Times, Tema Celeste, and many others.