Illuminating Nature opens in Tyler, Dec. 14

Full Flower Moon, a 60 x 72 oil on canvas, is one of the pieces included in Illuminating Nature, which opens in Tyler on

Full Flower Moon, a 60 x 72 oil on canvas (2013), is featured in Illuminating Nature, a 15-year solo survey of work that will be on display at the Tyler Museum of Art from December 14, 2013 through March 23, 2014.

15 years of paintings, works on paper, and painted reliefs

There are two primary meanings for the word Illuminate.

The first, most common use of the verb, means, quite literally, to cast light or shine upon, thereby making (the thing) clearer and easier to understand.

The second, less common use of the word refers to an embellishment or decoration, as in a page or initial letter in a manuscript – usually associated with Medieval Manuscripts – and as such is usually associated with a form of meditation on the subject of the manuscript.

I have chosen the title, Illuminating Nature, for my show at the Tyler Museum for both of those meanings.

My paintings, from the beginning, have been inspired by nature but it has never been my intention to merely paint pictures of what I see – as a camera might reproduce a scene – but rather to interpret nature as I see it and to capture some essence or feeling of it.

Illuminating Nature

A Solo Survey Exhibition – 15 years of paintings, works on paper and painted reliefs

Tyler Museum of Art,
Tyler, Texas

December 14, 2013
thru March 23, 2014

(Opening Reception – Free to the Public
Saturday, December 14, 2013 – Time: TBA)

I always begin with direct observation; I am never without a sketchbook when I am outdoors and I am constantly observing and recording what I see.

In the interpretation of what I record through the paintings I later create in my studio, I emphasize certain aspects of nature that I observe – details of a bird or an insect, for example, or a particular color or pattern on a flower – and thereby illuminate (in the casting of light sense) certain aspects of nature that might not otherwise be so obvious.

In this way, I can bring into focus and freeze, as it were, those fleeting moments of the natural world.

The secondary meaning in the use of the word illuminating refers to the expressive manner in which the paintings are intentionally composed, with exaggerated color and stylized forms – what could otherwise be described as decorative embellishments – with the intent to draw in and engage the viewer long enough to appreciate the deeper, more subtle levels of the work.

Billy Hassell