Visitors to the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth will see a little more of UT Arlington this year.
Work by Department of Art & Art History Professor Benito Huerta has replaced a painting from Assistant Professor Sedrick Huckaby in the museum’s atrium area and will hang there until February 2015. Selected works from Huerta, the director of The Gallery at UTA, will also be on display beginning in July.
Huerta, who has had paintings included in museums and galleries throughout the nation during his decades-long career, said inclusion in the Amon Carter’s halls is special.
“I’ve always been a proponent of local museums supporting artists in their own backyards. It doesn’t happen often,” he said. “But something like this signifies to the community that the local artists are just as important as those the museums bring in from around the country and around the world.”
The 10-foot by 13-foot oil painting, “Axis Mundi v.2,” is a 1997 reworking of a mural-size painting Huerta created for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in the mid-1990s. Huerta said the painting, which features a world map and other icons, depicts three levels of existence: physical, cultural and psychological.
The idea of including Huerta’s work at the Amon Carter began last year during a Fort Worth gallery reception when Huerta and Andrew Walker, Amon Carter’s director, met. After several conversations and studio visits, Huerta was formally invited to include his work at the museum.
In addition to the large painting, museum visitors will also get to see additional work by Huerta as well as work from the collection he curated. Beginning in July, small works on paper will line the sloping gallery leading to the atrium – Huerta’s work will be on one side and the works of other artists on the other.
But it’s the large, blue oil painting in the atrium that is sure to leave an impression with museum guests. Huerta said it’s one of the largest he’s ever painted and serves as a reminder of the challenges he accepted in 1996 while working on the Houston museum project.
“Most artists try to push the envelope and have moments of self-discovery,” he said. “It was a challenge to use acrylic paint – I normally use oils — and work with that scale and the images from the Houston museum. But when you do something that’s a little different from what you normally do, it broadens your horizons and you learn something about yourself.”