Eye Openers


Show Us Your Stuff. . . Want to have your work shown here? Well, we want it here too.   We’d love to know who you are and what you’d like considered for a Drash Pit Eye Opener’s feature. Deadline for our next issue is Mon., September 23. Contact neena@drashpit.com.

Mark Morrisroe, Untitled, 1981

"Quiet Field", 38" x 50", oil on canvas, 2012

A Jalapeeno By Any Other Name

Rebecca Cohen

“Please note: my legal name is Albert James Bonar.” The words appear midway through Jimmy Jalapeeno’s resume which also makes mention of two NEA fellowships and participation in myriad exhibitions throughout Texas.  Bonar? Jalapeeno? Either way, after receiving a BFA from the University of Texas and an MFA from the University of California at Davis, the man proved an articulate and inventive professional who often appeared to be swimming against the tide of contemporary art with his evocative landscape paintings, ample nudes and portraits of his cat.

By 1983 (the year I began operating an Austin art gallery), Jalapeeno, who exhibited his work with Chuck Cooper’s AIR Gallery, was one of the best known artists in the city, easy to pick out of the crowd. He was the soft-spoken quirky guy who never appeared without his baseball cap, round glasses, and camera draped around his neck. I never guessed his age. He worked for 29 years as a photographer for the Texas Historical Commission, but was better known for his Texas landscape paintings, six of which remind departing passengers at Austin Bergstrom International airport of the natural beauty they are about to leave behind. Now Jalapeeno has left Austin behind. He died May 22, 2013 at the age of 66.

“You can call me Retro if you like,” he wrote about his work. “I feel a connection with the act of painting going back to Lascaux, and I want to connect to what has been achieved in the practice. I wouldn't mind being perceived as doing something new with it, but not at the risk of dismissing or forgetting what has gone before.”

He acknowledged a relationship between his personal photographic work (he studied with the famed Russell Lee at the University of Texas and was his assistant in 1967-68) and his paintings. It was not so much about the confluence of subject matter in his photographs and paintings (although cityscapes and landscapes predominate in each) as it was his way of seeing the world around him and the role of art within it. He wrote, “The type of seeing that I use in photography leaks into my painting quite a bit.” The opposite was also true. Interestingly, his later photographs are more abstract than his paintings.

He explains, “Every painting or sculpture or photograph is at its core a work of abstraction. The composition has to work, or the experience just doesn't even begin.” Our experience of Jalapeeno himself has now ended save for the body of work he’s left behind, a great many wonderful paintings and photographs that continue a life of their own.                                  http://www.jalapeeno.com/

Beauford Delaney, Portrait of a Young Musician

"Punto de Vista", oil on wood, 12.5" x 9.25", 2011

"Room 4", oil on wood, 45" x 26", 2011

"No Place Like Home 1", 10.75" x 16", oil on wood, 2013