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Bywaters Special Collections Artist Profile: Louise Heuser Wueste (Wüste)

This artist profile is the first on several artists whose works are featured in the exhibition, Texas Women Artists: Selections from Bywaters Special Collections, on the 2nd floor of Hamon Arts Library.

The earliest Texas drawing in Bywaters Special Collections is a pencil sketch of Elize Bunzen Wueste by Louise Heuser Wueste  (1805 – 1874).  Considered “…the first important woman artist to appear on the Texas scene,”  Wueste was born in Gummersbach, Germany in 1805.  In her youth she was surrounded by people who were interested in the arts.  Her father, Heinrich Daniel Theodor, was known as a shrewd merchant and chemist dealing in paints and indigo whereas her mother, Louise Heuser, had social ties to German royal families.  Louise studied portraiture at the Düsseldorf Academy during a time when the school was highly regarded as a center of study for detailed and realistic historical narrative painting.  Two of her instructors at the school were Friedrich Boser and Karl Ferdinand Sohn – both distinguished artists of the Academy.  In 1824 she married Dr. Peter Wilhelm Leopold Wueste and together they had three children – Emma, Adeline, and Daniel.  Family life interrupted her art interests for a time.  After her husband’s early death at age 37, Louise returned to her artwork and began teaching portraiture.  During the 1840s, her children had left Germany due to political turmoil and moved to Texas.  In 1857 [or 1859], Louise decided to make the arduous journey to Texas; she joined her daughter, Adeline, who was living in San Antonio with her husband. Not wanting to be a burden on her family, Louise returned to her art training and in 1860, opened a studio at No. 18 in the French Building in San Antonio.  Her advertisement for instruction in the San Antonio Herald (May 8, 1860) offered “the services of her art training in taking likenesses in oil or drawing, as well as to give lessons in every branch of art.”   While in San Antonio, Louise continued to paint formal portraits and sketch landscapes.

By 1863 Civil War hardships had caused Louise to join her son in Piedras Negras, Mexico, where he worked as a merchant.  She continued to paint and draw what she saw in her new surroundings, including the people and landscapes along the Rio Grande River.  Daniel eventually relocated to Eagle Pass, Texas and Louise returned to San Antonio to resume her art career.  During a trip to visit her son, Louise became ill and died on September 25, 1874. She left behind hundreds of paintings and drawings; the largest public collection of her work is located at the Witte Museum in San Antonio.

[1] Cecilia Neuheisel Steinfeldt, Art for History’s Sake:  The Texas Collection of the Witte Museum (Introduction by William H. Goetzmann), (San Antonio:  The Texas State Historical Association for the Witte Museum of the San Antonio Museum Association, 1993), p. 269.

[1] Pauline A.Pinckney, Painting in Texas:  The Nineteenth Century (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 1967), p. 118.


Image: Elize Bunzen Wueste, Pencil on Paper, original dimensions (paper):  10” H x 8 13/16” W, ca. 1860s, [http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/tar/id/244/rec/1 ]

Courtesy of The Jerry Bywaters Collection on Art of the Southwest, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

The Hawn Gallery presents Embodied Algorithm: [Re]embracing the Analog –New works by Ira Greenberg

The Hawn Gallery presents

Embodied Algorithm: [Re]embracing the Analog

New works by Ira Greenberg

On view: September 8 – October 8, 2017

 Opening Reception: Friday, September 8th, 5-7 pm
at the Hawn Gallery, located in the Hamon Arts Library at SMU

Artist Ira Greenberg will conduct a gallery talk at 5:45 p.m.

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Despair, Benighted States of America Series, charcoal on paper, 42″ x 46″ 2017

An exhibition of new works by Dallas-based artist Ira Greenberg features drawings completed over a two-year period exploring the continuum between computational (digital) and human- (analog) implemented algorithms. The ultimate pieces confront viewers with large-scale snapshots of intimate moments between Greenberg’s subjects.

Below Greenberg discusses his shift to drawing and describes how the analog process helps create deep connections between the artist and viewer, bridging time and space.

Creating a drawing is a multi-layered, integrative problem, very difficult for a computer. Algorithms are quite good at mimicking parts of a drawing process, such as creating a contour line, shading, or even utilizing advanced AI techniques to generate a composition. However, drawings are profoundly idiosyncratic creations, each mark a near (or far) miss, determined by complex overlapping dynamics. An artist’s intellectual, physical and emotional states factor into every mark and decision made. In this sense a drawing is like a time machine, capturing the temporal experience of the artist’s process. Though algorithms can simulate these dynamics with layers of clever randomization, the decisions are ultimately not connected to a human life (though in theory they could be connected to one in silico.)

For me, one of the most captivating features of a work of art is the artist’s hand/intention and the communication felt between artist and viewer, across time and space. Though at first glance this communication might seem unidirectional–from artist to viewer–complex, highly layered works of art–a Cezanne landscape, a highly glazed Titian, a built-up impasto-ed Rembrandt self-portrait–have so many layers of captured meaning that upon multiple viewings the work/artist continues a conversation with the viewer.

The drawings in this show grew out of an analog process considering the translation of computational algorithms, based on some of my earlier code structures. The early pieces began as automatic drawings, with found form and structures emerging over time. This process led eventually to head-like, abstract forms emerging, which then slowly evolved to highly representational heads, based on source material. I never intended to draw portraits. However, once the representational heads emerged, I began to consider the internal algorithms imbued in the process of creating the drawing. Though I am interested in the pictorial narrative vis-à-vis the imagery, I am equally interested in other formal properties, including composition, scale and activation of the surface, through orchestration of marks and tonality. Overall, as with the original algorithmic work, I am still searching for form and structures through my process; though the outcome is now far more layered and deeply personal.

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Hilary & Jerry, charcoal on paper, 65″ x 42″ 2017

Greenberg’s art practice spans painting, 2D and 3D animation, print design, and web and interactive design. He is the Director of the Center of Creative Computation and Professor at SMU, with a joint appointment in the Meadows School of the Arts and the Lyle School of Engineering.

Embodied Algorithm: [Re]embracing the Analog will be on view until October 8th. The gallery is open daily, M-TH 8AM-9PM, F 8AM-6PM, Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 2PM-9PM and free to the public. The artwork will extend out of the Hawn Gallery and into the Hamon Arts Library’s lobby to include works from the artist’s algorithmic drawing series. For more information, please call 214-768-3813 or visit http://www.smu.edu/cul/hamon.


Featured image: Robin & Sophie, charcoal on paper, 72″ x 48″ 2017
Images: courtesy of Ira Greenberg

In memory of our colleague, Dillon Wackerman

The staff of Central University Libraries are deeply saddened to share the news about the death of our wonderful and brilliant colleague, Dillon Wackerman. After a nationwide search, Dillon joined SMU’s Central University Libraries on August 1, 2016, as the Digital Repository Librarian. He quickly rebranded SMU’s digital repository as SMU Scholar and transformed it into a vibrant showcase of the University’s scholarly research.

It is hard to capture in words Dillon’s relentless drive to expand support for scholarly communication at SMU. He was a proactive advocate for Open Access and an emerging leader on our campus in developing strategies for strengthening relationships between the libraries and the campus community. He enabled faculty and students to exercise their publishing options in SMU Scholar and worked tirelessly with all contributors – faculty, students, and staff at every level. He continuously served as a dedicated advocate of Open Access, author’s rights, and the preservation of SMU’s academic output, and scheduled many meetings and training sessions in his professional endeavor.

His creativity in and exuberance for Scholarly Communications stood above the crowd. He developed and hosted conferences that captured the latest trends and thinking in this field. Librarians and faculty from around the region attended these effervescent events, which led to lively, professional debates and critical discussions on the future of library publishing and the free flow of scholarly information.

Dillon was a true professional with the highest standards of excellence. In a short amount of time, he rebuilt SMU’s digital repository at a breathtaking speed. Dillon was also a beautiful and caring person whom we will never forget. Central University Libraries is fortunate for having  known and worked with such a professional and kind colleague. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family in Texas and California.

For those of you who wish to donate funds for Dillon’s family to support them in the following months ahead, please go to: www.gofundme.com/dwackerman.

Texas Women Artists: Selections from Bywaters Special Collections on view

The metalwork, photographs, prints, and sculpture selected for the new exhibition, Texas Women Artists: Selections from Bywaters Special Collections, are from the holdings of Bywaters Special Collections, located in the Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library.  Each artist represented in the exhibition had early art training, most of it professional, yet career paths diverged as they became curators, educators, gallery directors, metalsmiths, printmakers, and sculptors.  The first artist represented is Louise Heuser Wueste (Wüste), a “pioneer” since she is the first known professionally-trained woman artist to arrive in Texas in the mid-nineteenth century.  Many other women artists followed in her footsteps, and their legacy is still felt today in works of art they created and organizations they established.

In view of the fragile nature of the works of art shown in this exhibition, reproductions of the originals are exhibited. Texas Women Artists: Selections from Bywaters Special Collections is on view August 21, 2017 – August 5, 2018.


Image: Courtesy of Mary Nye Collection, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

Two Texans at the MoMA: Medellin and Spruce

As part of the graduation requirements to earn my Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies from Southern Methodist University, I completed a capstone project titled Two Texans at the MoMA: Medellin and Spruce. The purpose of my project was to collaborate with the Bywaters Special Collections staff to complete a research paper using the many primary sources available in the collection. The paper examined the historical significance of the exhibit catalog of the “Americans 1942: 18 Artists from 9 States” and the Texas regional artists represented in the exhibition.

Two Texas regional painters, Octavio Medellin (1907-1999) and Everett Spruce (1907-2002) were the only two Texas artists included in the exhibition “Americans 1942: 18 Artists from 9 States” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, January 21-March 8, 1942. The Bywaters Special Collections in the Hamon Arts Library at Southern Methodist University, named for Jerry Bywaters who was a leader in the Texas regional art movement, holds a personalized copy of the catalog from that exhibition. Through studying the MoMA catalog and using the primary sources in the Bywaters’ archive at SMU, I was able to determine why the MoMA chose to hold this exhibition, what the iconographic and stylistic themes of the exhibition were, and the criteria for selection of the 18 artists. The archive also provided me with valuable information regarding the careers and contributions of the artists. Working with the knowledgeable and helpful staff in the archive made the journey into the world of primary sources an enlightening and pleasurable experience.

For information about Octavio Medellin and Everett Spruce and to access the primary source in Bywaters SpecialCollections, please visit:     http://www.smu.edu/CUL/Hamon/Bywaters/About/Collections


Blog post: Courtesy of LaGail Davis, General Operations Manager, Hamon Arts Library, CUL, SMU.

Image: Cover of the cited exhibition catalogue: Dorothy Canning Miller, ed., Americans, 1942: 18 artists from 9 states (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1942).

Jerry Bywaters: Lone Star Printmaker now in SMU Scholar

Published initially by Southern Methodist University Press in 2007, Central University Libraries is proud to announce Ellen Buie Niewyk’s Jerry Bywaters: Lone Star Printmaker is now available as open access and free of charge in SMU Scholar. In her book, Niewyk, Curator of the Bywaters Special Collections, CUL, highlights the seminal achievements of Jerry Bywaters’ career as a prolific printmaker, artist, and teacher at Southern Methodist University and in the Dallas area. The incorporation of Jerry Bywaters: Lone Star Printmaker in SMU Scholar, the University’s institutional repository, marks the beginning of a focused effort to make public and more accessible the rich and academically significant publications of SMU Press to scholars and other readers with an interest in Texas regional art. 

To access this title and other academic works, please visit: http://scholar.smu.edu/ and http://scholar.smu.edu/ebooks/1/.


Blog post: Courtesy of Dillon Wackerman, Digital Repository Librarian, Central University Libraries, SMU.

Interview with Marisa Infante, 2017 recipient of Larrie and Bobbi Weil Undergraduate Research Award

Congratulations go to Meadows art history student, Marisa Infante, who is the 2017 recipient of the Larrie and Bobbi Weil Undergraduate Research Award for her paper, The Amazons of Exekias and Eupolis: Demystifying Changes in Gender Roles. The Weil Award is given annually for excellence in undergraduate research, and the recipient is an SMU student nominated by their faculty for outstanding research and writing of a term paper.

Marisa agreed to a few questions about her research for this paper.

  1. Marisa, could you please briefly tell blog readers about the topic of your paper?

My paper focuses on two Greek vases, one from the Archaic period and the other from the Classical period. Combining these vases with feminist and gender theory, I explore the differences in depictions of Amazon figures and how their iconography relates to the changing gender roles of women.

  1. What did you find most surprising or intriguing in your research?

I found it surprising that the iconography changed as drastically as it did. The iconography of the amazons widely changed from one time period to the next with little crossover. I think that this is so interesting because it reflects how quickly the mindset of the people changed as well.

  1. Was there or were there key resource(s) that helped you in your research?

There were a few key resources that helped me in my research. One of the main sources that I used was the Lexicon iconographic mythologiae classicae (LIMC)! I used it to survey the overall change in Amazon iconography and without it my paper would not have been as strong.

  1. If you had more than one semester to research this topic, is there something else you would have also discussed in your paper?

I would have included more vases in order to really show the difference in the Amazon iconography and to trace how drastically different the iconography is between the Archaic period and the Classical period.


Image: Marisa Infante, with donors, Larrie and Bobbi Weil, and Elizabeth Killingsworth, Director of Fondren Library and Head of Research Services, and Dean and Director ad interim (effective July 1st), Central University Libraries, SMU.

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Greer Garson’s Mrs. Miniver

Mrs. Miniver was released on June 4, 1942 and went on to win six Academy Awards, including “Best Picture,” Best Director” and “Best Actress” with Greer Garson’s stellar performance.  It was the second of what would be seven nominations for “Best Actress” during Garson’s career.  This depiction of English civilians’ determined resistance during the Battle of Britain struck a resonant chord with American audiences, prompting Winston Churchill to proclaim that the film was as important to the Allied war effort as “a whole fleet of battleships.”  Rarely seen on the big screen since its initial release, Southern Methodist University (whose Hamon Arts Library houses Greer Garson’s papers) is bringing this one-time screening to the Texas Theatre. Celebrate Greer at the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff on Sunday, June 4th at 4pm, with FREE ADMISSION.


Thank you to Dr. Sam Ratcliffe, Head, Bywaters Special Collections for this post.
Image: Courtesy of the Division of Film and Media Arts, Meadows School of the Arts, SMU.

Hawn Gallery’s Piecing It Together and Eva Hesse

On April 26th, the Hamon Arts Library presented a screening of the 2015 documentary, Eva Hesse (Zeitgeist Films, dir. Marcie Begleiter) in conjunction with the Hawn Gallery’s current exhibition, Piecing It Together. This incredible film about the life and work of pioneering post-minimalist and conceptual artist Eva Hesse seemed a logical and evocative accompaniment to the exhibition, and is now available for circulation in Hamon’s AV collection. Piecing It Together, which features work by abstract painters, Danielle Kimzey, Mary Laube, and Christopher Reno addresses many of the postmodernist themes and feminist ideologies in both the film and Hesse’s own work.

Continue reading “Hawn Gallery’s Piecing It Together and Eva Hesse”

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