VISUAL ARTS + MUSEUMS
John Slaby: Inappropriate for a Public Space
November 3-December 6, 2012
Archway Gallery presents Inappropriate for a Public Space featuring work by artist John Slaby. The exhibit will be on view November 3 through December 6, 2012. The artist will be on hand to visit with guests during the exhibition opening reception on Saturday, November 3, 2012 from 5 – 8 pm at the gallery and will talk about his work at 6:30pm during the...
Archway Gallery presents Inappropriate for a Public Space featuring work by artist John Slaby. The exhibit will be on view November 3 through December 6, 2012. The artist will be on hand to visit with guests during the exhibition opening reception on Saturday, November 3, 2012 from 5 – 8 pm at the gallery and will talk about his work at 6:30pm during the opening reception.
The title for this show came about from some of Slaby’s recent experiences in applying to juried competitions which were to hang in public spaces, such as the lobby of an office building. To avoid controversy, the rules for such exhibits preclude any work involving sex, violence and religion; to which Slaby thought: “Well, that’s pretty much most of my work.” Sometimes he gets solicitations for hospitals, which, of course, would also preclude the subject of death; to which he says: “Well, that pretty much covers the rest of my work.”
In the past Slaby has structured his solo shows around particular themes. Lately he has abandoned this restrictive idea for the freedom to paint whatever he is drawn to. The result is an eclectic show in a variety of styles and subjects. Slaby considers himself an artist in the Romantic tradition and bases his works on personal experience seeking a strong connection with his audience.
The show offers thoughts on those aforementioned topics: sex, violence, religion and death as well as some others. Slaby explains, “I like to think that each work offers the viewer a subject of contemplation and, hopefully, connection and enlightenment, which is the motivation of my work.”
Some of these pieces are deeply personal. For example, there is a piece featuring four dear friends who died at an early age. There are also several self-portraits, a subject seldom approached by Slaby. “Although very personal, my hope is that these experiences will connect with my audience. I don’t expect to sell these very personal works, but I do hope they establish a foundation for my art in the mind of the visitor,” says Slaby.
There are also a number of appropriate paintings – as Slaby says “even Grandma will like.” For example, a small series of windmill paintings inspired by his many trips to the Texas panhandle will be featured, though with Slaby, one should not expect the obvious.
When asked to discuss his process Slaby explained, “I work almost exclusively in oils and stretch my own canvases. I work in layers, which imparts richness to the paintings reminiscent of the great masters. My images are based upon my own photographs (with very few exceptions). For my still lifes, I arrange them in my studio and shoot under very controlled lighting conditions – often mixing incandescent and LED light to get a wider color range. The images are often computer manipulated to achieve the desired effects. Only then does the painting start. My work begins where the photographer has finished. My paintings are not strict copies of the photographs, however, as there are myriad changes made as the painting process progresses as I seek to transcend the photograph.”
Born and raised in New York City, Slaby has been a resident of the Houston area for 25 years. With no formal training in art, he holds a doctorate in Chemical Engineering. He has been pursuing his art work seriously since his first outdoor show in 1989 at the then-called Westheimer Art Festival (now the Bayou City Arts Festival).
Slaby has had numerous gallery shows in the Houston area and has received awards in numerous juried exhibitions. Slaby joined Archway Gallery in 1993 and is currently serving as both Treasurer and Director of the gallery.
Pictured above: Jesus Christmas by John Slaby.