VISUAL ARTS + MUSEUMS
Kermit Oliver: Tracing Our Pilgrimage - 2013 ALH Lifetime Achievement Award Exhibition
September 27 - November 15, 2013
Art League Houston (ALH) is excited to announce the inaugural ALH Lifetime Achievement Award Exhibition, on view September 27 – November 15, 2013. Kermit Oliver: Tracing Our Pilgrimage opens with a reception Friday, September 27, 6pm-9pm.
The exhibition features a survey of seventeen works that have rarely been seen publicly, and span over a thirty year period of the artist's phenomenal yet somewhat reclusive career.
For more than 40 years, Kermit has painted nature and myth-inspired portraits and landscapes rooted in his life as a native Texan, earning public recognition while carefully guarding his privacy. After nearly a quarter of a century, he continues to be the only American artist to be commissioned each year by Hermès to create designs for its renowned silk scarves.
In 2005, Curator Alvia J. Wardlaw and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston mounted a major retrospective of his work and life. Nine years later there is a new generation who is not familiar with his work, and this exhibition gives everybody an opportunity to honor not only his paintings and drawings but also his significant place in the history of art in Texas.
A self-described “recluse”, Kermit sorted mail on the night shift in a Waco, Texas post office (recently retiring on August 31, 2013) and continues to paint by day. His paintings blend contemporary and classical elements inspired by his rural Texas heritage with his study of mythology, religion, and history.
Born in 1943 in Refugio, Texas, Kermit Oliver is the son and grandson of African-American working cowboys. He enrolled in Texas Southern University in 1960, majoring in art and education. He married Katie Washington in 1962 and graduated in 1967 with a BFA and teaching certificate. Throughout college Kermit was nurtured by a popular professor and previous ALH Texas Artist of the Year recipient, John Biggers, a legendary mentor to many younger African American artists. In his junior year, he attended an artist seminar class conducted by Willem de Kooning’s wife, Elaine de Kooning, at Rice University.
Oliver's work is part of the permanent collections at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Museum of Fine Art, Houston; The Dallas Museum of Fine Art; The San Antonio Museum of Art; The El Paso Museum; Art Museum of Southeast Texas; The Arkansas Arts Center, and is among prestigious corporate collections such as Phillip Morris, Texas Gulf, and House of Hermes, Paris. Kermit Oliver has been represented by Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Inc. in Houston, Texas since 1988.
An exhibition catalog will be available, featuring an introduction by ALH and an essay written by Garry Reece.
Kermit Oliver, along with 2013 Texas Artist of The Year, Rachel Hecker and 2013 Texas Patrons of the Year, Leigh & Reggie Smith will be celebrated at ALH’s 65th Anniversary Gala held in their honor on Friday, October 18 at the Hotel ZaZa.
For ticket and table purchase information please contact Jill Nepomnick at ALH, 713 523 9530.
This exhibit was funded with a generous grant from The Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation. We would like to especially thank Geri Hooks and Yvonne Garcia from Hooks-Epstein Galleries, Inc., for their encouragement and assistance, as well as the lenders to the exhibit, which inlude Jan and Jack Cato and Kirby and Scott McCool. We would also like to thank writer Garry Reece for his thoughtful essay in the exhibit catalog along with Tom Hair and Axiom Design Group, including David Lerch and Matthew Schott, for the catalog’s beautiful design.
ALH is an artist centered organization whose mission is to support and facilitate original, contemporary and experimental artistic endeavors by local, regional, national and international artists. ALH actively seeks adventurous work by emerging and recognized artists who provoke new ideas, genres, and discussions in contemporary art. Art League Houston achieves this mission through its diverse exhibition and outreach programming, as well as its dynamic adult art school staffed by leading art practitioners in Houston.
The Art League is funded in part by a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance and is supported in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.
Art League Houston acknowledges the following private foundations, public funders, and corporations for their support this season: Art Colony Association, Inc., Asakura Robinson Company, Axiom, Bank of River Oaks, The Brown Foundation, CenterPoint Energy, Inc., CHEVRON, ExxonMobil Foundation, Felvis Foundation, the Eleanor & Frank Freed Foundation, Gainer Donnelly, Houston Endowment, Inc., Kinder Morgan Foundation, John P. McGovern Foundation, Mrs. Katherine McGovern, Oshman Foundation, Larissa Poindexter, Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Target, The Simmons Foundation, Susan Vaughan Foundation, The Vaughn Foundation, The Simmons Foundation, Visual Arts Alliance, Wells Fargo, and the Wortham Foundation, Inc. Art League Houston also wishes to thank its many generous individual members & donors for their support.