In his new body of work, Visions and Voices Billy Hassell was inspired by “Aunt Fanny’s rambles” from A Place on Earth (1967) by Wendell Berry. Hassell’s works are the result of more than a walk, but a zigzagging kind of journey collecting a little of this and a little of that…. In Visions and Voices, Hassell invites us to join him on a journey with opened eyes, an opened mind and open to possibility. This past year, Billy Hassell has “travelled to some spectacularly beautiful places, collected some amazing views and experienced some rarified sights.” Some voices spoke longer and louder than others; each painting is its own vision.
Created this past winter 2015 and spring 2016, the paintings were inspired by a variety of sources: visits to Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle and the coastal prairie of south central Texas. These last visits resulted in Powderhorn Ranch, a new color lithograph commissioned by The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.
According to the artist, while some of the new paintings are less intentionally environmental than others, they are all inspired by a deep appreciation of nature and a profound awareness that the outdoors, what we are now able to enjoy, may not be around forever. The works are imaginative interpretations of the natural world and Hassell hopes his works will evoke a sense of place for the viewer. They are a way for Hassell to establish a personal connection to places he has been, sights he has seen, and a way to share those experiences. Wendell Berry’s definition of a ramble - by way of his character, Aunt Fanny - could be taken to suggest a way to wisely and conscientiously pass through this world – taking a little and leaving a little but always leaving some: a subtle but profound message.
Born 1956 in Dallas, Billy Hassell received a BFA from the University of Notre Dame, and an MFA from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Exhibitions since 2000 include: The Longview Museum of Art, Longview, TX, The Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, TX, TAMU, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, TX, LeMieux Galleries, New Orleans, LA, Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MS, The Art Center of Waco, Waco, TX and Bryant Gallery, Kingsville, TX.