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At Home With the Artist: Terrell Powell

There are a thousand ways that I count myself a lucky woman. One is that I’ve gotten to see a lot of magnificent art hanging on the walls of some magnificent museums — from New York to London to Paris and more (though Italy’s museums are still on the must-see list). Traveling to D.C. as often as I do, I try to see the sights, museums included, whenever I get to stay downtown.

Most recently, I saw the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Smithsonian Gallery of American Art. I’ve never been moved by Rockwell’s work, and this show did little to adjust my attitude, I’m afraid. While his popularity may have come from a nation who collectively recognized ourselves within those paintings, we are witnessing the ordinary–not the extraordinary–and we are not pushed in any way to think, feel, or ponder. But I digress…


The Studio

A task for this badge asks scouts to visit a museum, gallery or artist’s studio. Having done the first two more than a few times, I was tickled to take a closer look at Terrell Powell’s studio, and his work, to support this badge task. Readers of the BSP know that Terry and his wife, artist Patricia Phifer, occasionally open up their studio to some friends who gather for casual “Art Nights;” we play with paint, get some instruction, and laugh ourselves silly. And when you look at Terry’s work, you can immediately understand how much fun it is to be in his company–and how any room is lightened by having his work in it.

One of the things I love most about Terry is that nothing is precious; art matters–deeply–but it doesn’t begin with a capital “A.” It’s probably the quality that makes it so terrifically easy for us goofballs who populate his occasional Art Nights to feel completely unintiminated and free to explore in any way we wish.

I’m taking the liberty of sharing some of my favorite pieces here, but I say all y’all should check out this more extensive collection of his work, then come out see it for yourself in December (two chances in Austin — see the bottom of this post for more!).

Let’s start with Terry’s recent addition to Austin’s Cow Parade, a sublime beauty called “Mooquet.” Yes, that’s Terry with his creation.

“Mooquet”, with artist Terrell Powell, for the Austin Cow Parade

Get the idea? No fear of fun or color anywhere to be found. You wanna color outside the lines in Terry’s company? No problem.

Terry’s a pretty prolific artists, and he never stops creating as far as I can tell. I can’t possibly share enough images with you, but here are some of my favorites:

Take a look at this next one. It’s so reminiscent of the kinds of drawings we all did as kiddos (“Draw your house, children”), but now it’s realized in “adult” ways — clothes hanging on the line, farm land carved out there in the hills. To me, Terry’s work manages to be “of all ages;” we can be all grown up without losing our sense of wonder and color. We give up nothing–our palette just gets richer and bolder.

Much of Terry’s work is three-dimensional — here’s his favorite (I think it’s mine, too):

Clearly, I love, love, love Terry’s current work, but I’m equally blown away by work from earlier in his career as well: hyperrealism — with a twist.

Take a close look at this painting, entitled “Another Time;”

The background image — think your grandparents’ porch in morning light — is painted with an exquisite level of detail (this photo doesn’t do it justice), and then we’re treated to an overlay of what feels like our own first efforts to depict our surroundings — the flower, the cat, the grass, the birdie in the tree. This juxtaposition is the friggin’ bomb, imo. It represents not only a moment in time for the viewer, but a shift in styles for the artist in his career — from hyperrealistic illustration to joyous representation.

Here’s another from that same period:

I’m so grateful to Terry for letting me into his world and sharing his work with me, and if you’re here in Austin, treat yourself to an in-person look. You get a few chances in December. He and Pat always set up show at the annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, and they are also doing a home show on December 2nd and 3rd in central Austin. Email Terry for more info.

In one of my upcoming posts, I get to prove that I can correctly hang a picture on a wall. Don’t think this came easy to me — I went at it kicking and screaming.


2 thoughts on “At Home With the Artist: Terrell Powell

  1. Pingback: A Little Perspective: More Drawing & Painting | The Big Scout Project

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