1900 Nolana 
McAllen TX 
(Corner of Nolana and Bicentennial)

(956) 682-1564 
(956) 686-1813

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Fri., Sat:
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noon to 8:00p.


1:00p. to 5:00p.


Working since the 1950s with Venetian glass workers to fashion his sparkling vitreous art, Robert Willson has gained international recognition for his pioneering achievements in the field of solid glass sculpture. While the fabrication of his heavy creations in the gregarious manner of a bronze foundry is at odds with the principles of the American studio glass movement, which emphasize the solo efforts of an artist, Willson has persisted in going his own way. 

Though they have been overshadowed by the renown of his glass, Willson has also produced bold, brilliant watercolors and handsome drawings for more than six decades. Always blazing his own imaginative trail in these mediums, as in his sculpture, this "maverick" combines many disparate influences into an imagery which remains solely and distinctively his own. Willson studied with the great masters Jose Clemente Orozco and Rufino Tamayo in. Mexico, where he also befriended Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. 

This gifted creator has distilled in this watercolors elements from such varied aesthetic sources as Cubism, Abstract Expressionism and even Minimalism. Willson's paintings invite comparison to those of Charles Burchfield, Georgia O'Keefe and Arthur Dove, and reveal his abiding fascination with distant civilizations, his reverence for nature and his love for the southwest landscape. Like his glass, the watercolors are colorful, transparent and liquid, and demand sure, quick execution. 

The artist's intriguing studies for sculpture are intended to serve as working diagrams for the Venetian glass workers. In each, beauty is a function of form. Because they are placed on the studio floor where they may be readily seen during fabrication, many drawings are destroyed by flying sparks of glass and the hastened footsteps of the artisans. Those which survive, often carry the scars burns, tears, footprints and creases which document the precarious nature of their existence.

Trail of the Maverick: 
Watercolors and Drawings by Robert Willson, 1975-1998

(Saturday, 16 September 2000 Sunday, 17 December 2000)


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