By Audrey Werth/ tr news editor
At 414 Templeton Drive in West Fort Worth sits a house no more remarkable in appearance than any other. What gives this house character are the people and ideas that it has brought together.
Twenty years ago, NW art associate professor John Hartley was asked to place art on its walls and open the space as a gallery. This changed the house into something more.
Within a mile from some of the area’s greatest art museums, Gallery 414 provides a space for the community to gather around the work of emerging and lesser-known artists, including many TCC students and faculty.
The current 20th anniversary show, 20something, includes artwork by 20 artists never shown before at the gallery.
“We really kind of cover the gamut,” Hartley said. “We’ve got humor, beauty, social commentary, formalism.”
For NW student Greg Rodriguez, this is his first chance to show his work in a gallery outside of school.
“Being in the show is a really awesome opportunity for me,” he said. “It was totally unexpected, but I’m really happy to be a part of it.”
Rodriguez has a charcoal drawing in the gallery and says he discovered how much he enjoyed working with charcoal last spring in Hartley’s class.
“I hadn’t really tried until I was in John’s class, but once I did, I loved it, and I was hooked,” he said.
Hartley tends to keep the gallery separate from his teaching, but he included Rodriguez along with students Jan Rogers and Kelly Ingleright-Telgenhoff in the show because their artwork is exceptional, he said.
“I really thought that my viewing audience could come in and not see that they are students,” Hartley said.
NW art student Barbara Arabian believes the space provides an important proving ground for young or beginning artists.
“They really use it as an opportunity to introduce new artists to a great degree and beginning people with talent to the artistic community, and I think that’s a really great thing to do because it’s sort of a hard scene to break into,” Arabian said.
After young artists have shown their work once, it’s a lot easier to do it again with the help of someone like Hartley, she said.
“The cool thing about this is that they [students] are actually practicing what they are learning,” Hartley said. “They’re out there in the trenches, and that opportunity doesn’t happen very often.”
NW student Jan Rogers’ mixed-media piece, “No Bones About It,” deals with her perception of death and her critiques of materialism. She hopes to communicate that people should live less concerned with success and more with helping others.
“What I’m trying to do with my work is convey my views and make viewers use their critical thinking skills,” Rogers said.
“Abject,” a mixed-media sculpture made by NW art associate professor Trish Igo and Jill O’Brien, resembles a cow but has an otherworldly, melancholy twinge.
“We’re trying to make a form that is surreal, so it has these moments that look like reality, but then there are moments when it looks more like a nightmare or like something is a little bit off,” Igo said.
Igo and O’Brien like to work with found materials like real fur and mix them with traditional sculptural materials to make their pieces.
“We’re also trying to produce empathy in the viewer so it does look like an animal, but it looks broken and a little bit wrong or mistreated so that you feel sorry for it,” she said.
Igo said she is pleased with the way her work correlates with the other artwork in the show.
“Hers has this real social content in my mind,” Hartley said. “Then you have the big pear in the back, which is just completely opposite of the cow, and it’s quite beautiful, but there’s this missing part of it too. So is it as beautiful as what you might think, or is there a little bit of drama or tragedy?”
Hartley enjoys the challenge of displaying the work of multiple artists so they complement each other in the space. He plans to continue sharing the artwork of young and emerging artists at Gallery 414 for many years to come.
“I always want the audience to be excited about what they see,” he said. “It’s never the same thing twice.”
The exhibit runs through Oct. 11.