“Coming Home: A Tribute to Renowned Natchez Artists” opened with a reception on January 28. Scheduled to close on March 3, the show has been so well received that it has been extended through March 31.
Photography by Mark Francis
Dale Fairbanks is one of five former Natchez, Mississippi, artists recognized both nationally and internationally who were invited to participate in the show in celebration of Natchez Tricentennial 2016. Other artists include Susan Hollingsworth, Vidal Blankenstein, Noah Saterstrom, and Will Smith, Jr.
Photography by Ben Hillyer, The Natchez Democrat
Photography by Mark Francis
Dale, a narrative abstract artist, and fabric artist Susan Hollingsworth are now collaborating on future shows.
I took my first rain-drenched pilgrim steps on the Camino Frances in St. Jean Pied de Port, France, April 29, 2013. I was alone and terrified in the dark of that early morning but filled with joy and excitement. I knew instinctively, as other pilgrims have known before me, I was walking on sacred ground.
Field of Stars: El Camino de Santiago de Compostela
In December, Alma planted tulip bulbs, thousands of tulip bulbs. It was as much a part of our winter traditions as Christmas. Yellow legal pads traced year after year her designs and color choices. Each December was a profound act of faith. Will this bag of tightly closed tubers bloom yellow as promised, will the swirls of white, orange, pink adhere to her crafted plan, will the unpredictable storms of March crush and mangle the fragile cups of glory and leave the ground covered in the colors of hope lost and broken trust?
The first time my oldest daughter skied the mountains of Pitkin County, she was six months old and tucked under the arm of her grandfather. The summer trails, the winter runs, John Denver at the Leather Jug, beef stew and chili at The Stew Pot.
Painted for the house at Snowmass…it is a falsehood to think you can never go home again.
It's the shape of the empty canvas that first captures my eye, then composition brushed dark with a heavy brush. Pattern, color and ideas usually file in late to make themselves known...and suddenly I see Sundowners.
I don't attend the anatomy of the flower, nor do I pay attention to the color. It would be a distraction to have a living specimen in my studio insisting I be precise. It's more about the drifter, who arrives at dusk seeking food and lodging. It's about the dementia that rises to the surface more pronounced in the late evening. Or maybe it's about the habitual cocktail that waits for the five o'clock chime: permission to imbibe.
A significant, wise and trusted person in my life summed it up beautifully: It's never really about the flowers, is it?
U.S. Coast Guard Dedicates “Rescue Me” Painting at Hurricane Katrina Memorial Ceremony
New Orleans, La. – August 26, 2015 –To coincide with tenth anniversary memorial ceremonies marking Hurricane Katrina’s devastating assault on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the United States Coast Guard conducted a dedication ceremony for “Rescue Me,” a painting by Dale Fairbanks, artist and former resident of Louisiana.
The 10' x 14' oil on canvas painting features a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter which served as an icon of hope and aided in the Coast Guard rescue of more than 33,500 Katrina survivors.
The ceremony was held Tuesday, August 25, at the Hale Boggs Federal Building in New Orleans and was attended by representatives of the Coast Guard, the General Services Administration, and local dignitaries.
Rear Admiral David Callahan, Commander of the Eighth Coast Guard District, accepted the painting on behalf of the Coast Guard, “When I view this painting, I think of the sacrifice that all first responders must be prepared to make – to put themselves second in order to serve that others may live. In this room, I see those who gave so much in the face of great personal loss including active duty, reserve, civilian, and retired; this painting is for you. It will hang in the Hale Boggs Building in our headquarters, but truly it means so much more and belongs to so many more.”
Dale Fairbanks and Admiral David Callahan
“Rescue Me” is artist Dale Fairbanks’ expression of gratitude to U. S. Coast Guard members who never gave up and left no one behind. “I worked for two years on the big orange bird flying over the Ninth Ward and Industrial Canal. It's the most emotional painting I have ever done,” said Mrs. Fairbanks. “I am deeply honored that the United States Coast Guard has accepted ‘Rescue Me’ to commemorate the brave and determined men and women who saved so many lives.”
Limited edition giclée reproductions of “Rescue Me” are available here.
The siren call of the grid and the concentric circle takes hold of me every once in a wild spell, and I fall willingly into the trap. It’s been done before, this grid thing, and by far better artists, yet I find the lure impossible to resist. The grand master Kandinsky and the contemporary master Chuck Close have taught me well. I cannot count the hours I have spent standing in awe before their work.
My own three favorite grid canvases sold immediately.
The appeal is mysterious and bears investigating at another time and place. The excitement, I believe, for the artist is to take the tightly confined, limited space and break it apart…or not.
Crosswords Are Not Necessarily Cross Words is my latest wild spell in the world of grids. I desire deeply to brush paint across my canvas with gentle strokes, using fine lines and open flat spaces of colored perfection. That’s not going to happen in my lifetime. I am a messy, uncontrolled obliterator of all things neat and perfect.
This particular painting is an example of ironic deconstruction, of paint laid thick, and marks and scratches that defy and break all of the rules. It was a composition nightmare. There were cross words.
GONNA SING MY HEAD OFF
"Mama don't allow no singin' round here...Gonna sing my head off anyhow!"
I am in my element. These are my colored, sparkling jewels: wrapped with my grandfather in his swing, "Sweet Chariot" his sole repertoire, my grandmother's ole gray goose dead, a pistol hidden under flowers in her basket, and me...loud, obnoxious, consistently off-key, and always out of tune. (Click on any thumbnail to view larger image of painting.)
SO RANG THE BELLWETHER The 120" x 72" oil on linen painting is an abstraction of the rain forest theme and depicts the ominous warning of man's intrusion into the untouched and pristine rain forest. "So Rang the Bellwether called me to wake up, pay attention, come out of my house, and witness a vast and deadly intrusion of man into the virgin landscape of the rain forest," said Fairbanks. "I was unprepared for the impact of oil on linen, the ominous fires, the shafts of light that forced their way through the lush greens to pierce my complacency." (Click on thumbnail to view larger image of painting.)