A brief discussion of three major art movements - Regionalism, Romanticism and Realism - by art historian Judy Tedford Deaton will set the stage for insights into the current art scene and the art of Randy Bacon.
Dusty crossroads, wide-open skies, and peacefully nestled buildings distinguish Randy Bacon’s paintings of West Texas and New Mexico. His long, horizontal canvases, like calm, lingering sighs, echo the vast, extended horizon of the Southwest region. These scenes, which are defined more by architectural and geographic features than by human characters, reminisce over farm roads and forgotten towns tucked into the rural fabric of the Western frontier. Many of Bacon’s sites attest to arrested development in their dichotomous layers of past expansion and present desolation. Although human figures compose a minimal, if not altogether nonexistent, visual component of Bacon’s paintings, human activity is etched in the agricultural use of the land and in the artifactual buildings. With his choices of subject matter and composition, Bacon searches for and maps the emotional terrain of each unique place.
Exploring the back roads of Texas and New Mexico, Bacon selects quiet junctures, rather than majestic attractions, to epitomize the feeling of a certain locale. Avoiding the overtly romantic, and replacing it instead with unpretentious emptiness, Bacon’s work shares a commonality with the landscape paintings of contemporary realist Julie Bozzi. Both artists focus on the overlooked, the unassuming, the isolated. The dramatic loneliness of Bacon’s carefully staged scenes suggests a just finished or impending narrative. Time-warped combinations of past prosperity and present stillness tempt the viewer with questions of what has happened and what will happen at this intersection.
Bacon reveals the quiet, yet stunning, beauty of what we might otherwise pass by too quickly. He plots the intermediary points along a journey, the places one unthinkingly sweeps through on the way to a more alluring endpoint. As Bacon reminds us with his emotionally poignant paintings, oftentimes the journey is more important – and more intriguing – than the destination.
Randy Bacon was born in Abilene, Texas in 1957. He went on to study Studio Art at the University of Texas at Austin from 1976-1977, and in 1980 received his BFA in Studio Art and Journalism from Southern Methodist University. In 2003, he spent time pursuing a painting fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, and in 2007 he received his MFA in Painting at Texas Christian University. The artist currently resides in Abilene, Texas.
Artist Statement: "This land I am connected to often appears to be caught in a time warp, and I try to capture the timelessness of its quiet isolation."