The New Beautiful

an Exhibition of New Works by Cecil Touchon

to open March 27 at William Campbell Contemporary Art


Touchon makes some of the most gorgeous mixed-media paintings you could

hope to see... Also, in his virtuoso synthesis of overlapping, dissolving planes,

vortices and cutout arabesque—the visual hallmarks of early modernism—he

subverts what was radical about modernism in the first place. In Touchon’s

hands, it becomes a mother lode of lovely compositional elements.

              - Janet Tyson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram 

FORT WORTH, TEXAS, February 20, 2010The New Beautiful, an exhibition of works by Cecil Touchon, will be on display March 27–April 24 at William Campbell Contemporary Art. An opening reception will be held on spring Gallery Night, Saturday, March 27, 2:00–9:00 p.m. The show will include a collection of new paintings and works on paper that display the artist’s ongoing quest to address notions of beauty through purely visual communication. Based on Touchon’s concept of the “new beautiful,” the work juxtaposes modern theory with traditional technique to create lyrical, abstract—and beautiful—picture planes. 

The artist’s concept behind the “new beautiful” begins with our culture’s need to continually invent fresh consumables. Touchon believes, however, that the fine arts do not fit into this mold and should be more carefully considered over time; art is best measured in decades and centuries, not seasons. So, instead of attempting to create new “isms” and theories, the artist mines the store of existing art ideals, re-examining and editing various artistic concepts to make them universally accessible to a contemporary audience. He explains: “…the point I wish to focus on is the idea that aesthetics have changed so significantly over the last 75 years that we can now say what was modern and once strange and radical and painfully isolated in a world built over previous centuries, has now become the New Beautiful…” 

Following this idea, Touchon re-examines then transcends various avant-garde movements of the past century, including Synthetic Cubism, Constructivism, and Fluxus. He views his role as “part of the clean up crew of the twentieth century,” excavating once dismissed artistic viewpoints for further consideration. Hence, his respect for the history of art and its craft give his work a unique edge; while the work is abstract and nonrepresentational, it also exhibits tradition. 

Post-Dogmatist Painting #416 exemplifies this methodology. The artist employs a classic color scheme (black, white, red) while the compositional layout is based loosely on the traditional symmetrical grid. Further, he has delicately shaded and manipulated lines and shapes to create texture and the illusion of depth—an homage to the trompe l’oeil tradition. Collage is the genesis of Touchon’s oeuvre, and like all of Touchon’s work, this piece mimics that medium by deconstructing and then reconstructing the elements. In this manner, external physical objects are distilled down and re-contextualized as shapes, lines, and colors, resulting in an abstraction that allows the artist to speak to a broad spectrum of viewers. Here, pieces of letters—once recognizable symbols—cease to exist as words and begin to communicate only as formal elements of design. They become part of the visual medium, which celebrates the true essence of the artwork.  

Of his “new beautiful” series, Touchon exclaims: “We should not be embarrassed to use the word beautiful as many artists today seem to be. The New Beautiful is strong and light and free. It is experimental and tentative yet elegant, simple and idealistic. The once naïve optimism, in time and with practice, culminates in wisdom.”  

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Widely recognized throughout Texas and the United States, Cecil Touchon has played a major role in the fine arts arena for well over two decades. The highly acclaimed artist has exhibited in galleries and museums in Dallas and Fort Worth, as well as in New York, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Boston, Houston, St. Louis, and Atlanta, among other cities. International exhibitions include venues in Paris; Amsterdam; Berlin; Cuernavaca, Mexico; and Italy, where he participated in the Venice Biennial in 2009 and 2001.  

Touchon is the founder and director of the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction and co-founder of the International Post-Dogmatist Group. He is also a member of the Massurrealist Society and founder of the La Sociedad Massurrealista de Mexico. He has been featured in dozens of exhibition catalogues, magazine articles, and scholarly publications, the most recent of which will be published in 2010 and is titled Masters: Collage—Major Works by Leading Artists (Lark Books). 

Touchon’s work appears in the collections of several major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Chicago Art Institute, and the Tate Modern in London. His works are found in many corporate collections as well, including those of IBM, HBO, American Airlines, American Express, Citibank, Las Vegas’s Bellagio Hotel, Neiman Marcus, Hallmark, and the Sanyo Corporation, to name a few. 

A Texas native, Cecil Touchon was born in Austin and attended both North Texas State University in Denton and the University of Texas at Arlington. He has been represented by William Campbell Contemporary Art since 1984. 
 

ABOUT THE GALLERY

Founded in 1974 by William and Pam Campbell, William Campbell Contemporary Art exhibits high-quality contemporary art in a variety of media, including paintings, works on paper, mixed-media constructions, photography, prints, ceramics, and sculpture. By exhibiting nationally recognized artists, along with new and emerging talent, the gallery aims to nurture an awareness and appreciation of the exciting diversity found in contemporary art. 

CONTACT

William Campbell Contemporary Art

4925 Byers Avenue

Fort Worth, Texas 76107

817.737.9566

www.williamcampbellcontemporaryart.com

Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. and Saturday, 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.


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