Lone Star Face

New York City has traditionally been a mecca of sorts for American artists. But more and more, you hear about artists settling in Texas. Marfa boasts a community of artist transplants. Austin and Houston both have a draw for creative folks looking for something a little different than the hustle and bustle of New York. And Dallas and Fort Worth attract artists that work in all kinds of media as a result of a renewed focus on contemporary art in the local gallery scenes. It's not hard to imagine the lure of Texas--it's a mishmash of cultures, an amalgam of different landscapes, and (not unimportant) it boasts relatively cheap real estate for those seeking studio space. Photographer Michael O'Brien fell in love with Texas for a lot of these reasons (the studio space thing is total conjecture on my part, though) when he was sent here on assignment from New York to photograph Willie Nelson in Red Headed Stranger. He stayed--and has gone on to capture iconic images of famous Texans such as Lady Bird Johnson, Larry McMurtry and Troy Aikman, as well as regular folks. His survey of what makes Texans such compelling subject matter for artists is on display in The Face of Texas exhibit at Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery, 1202 Dragon St., through July 25. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Visit pdnbgallery.com.
Tuesdays-Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: June 27. Continues through July 25, 2009
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Jennifer Elaine-Davis