ARTIST STATEMENT UnderStories: a painted history of the ephemeral native woodland and prairie wildflowers of Southern California.
"I paint the natural history of the perennial woodland and prairie wildflowers; showing their ephemeral loveliness each spring before the woodland trees cast shade. Though modest in nature, I celebrate their persistence to thrive; sprouting their chromatic blooms in patches across meadows and in the bosque forest habitats."
Thomas Nozkowski, the prominent NY, American abstract painter, said of Connally's works when he was her art advisor at SMU, "her 'nature abstractions' make the modest into something ambitious and it is her commitment to honor the continuous variability of her experience in nature. Each painting arises from that original experience and she keeps the painting open so anything can happen, while staying true to the original experience."
Connie Connally paints stunning canvases of complex elegance, with imagery that merges harmoniously and nearly completely both representational reference and powerful abstraction. Connally’s poetic colorscapes, with their expressive brushwork, sweeping gestural marks and animated cadence, reflect the artist’s passion for distilling the essence of her observations of nature and situate her work as the vital interplay between memory and imagination. Her palette of organic color and calligraphic brushstroke combine to serve as imprint of the artist’s profound love of being in nature and the desire that her painting reflect both her exterior and interior experience of it.
Citing Joan Mitchell as an important influence on her work, Connally employs exuberant, impassioned colors laid on her canvases in a pictorial strategy that teeters between the action painting of her abstract expressionist forebears and a more refined personal style that modulates the strokes and dabs that comprise her surfaces. Her layers of brushstroke read less as agitated ruptures and more like intuitive, sensual experiences rendered as prismatic atmospheres of color and tone. Rich, multi-layered surfaces of color morph, coalesce and scatter in quietly energetic rhythms that evoke the experience of being surrounded by nature.
Peter Frank, LA Art Critic, writes: "Connie Connally works most clearly with what we recognize as gestural abstraction, associated with Abstract Expressionism. Connally has focused, however, on a notable subset of such gestural painting, one recognized in the heyday of Action Painting and even cited then to li Abstract Expressionism with vital precedents (e.g. the late Impressionism of Monet, the early abstractions of Kandinsky). Like such precedents, Connally distinguishes herself as, in essence, a landscape painter, albeit one who paints the landscape she feels as much as she paints the one she sees. Indeed, Connally’s stress on sensuous form and color experience through reference to natural phenomena (in particular vegetation and water, normally in motion) places itself squarely in a tradition particular to the American experience. John Marin’s expansive rhapsodies on the local landscape exemplify this tradition, as does Joan Mitchell’s gradual – but ultimately thorough – adoption of landscape qualities and references. This sort of “plein air abstraction” defines Connally’s work, but her particular touch and palette, and her close and vibrant sense of atmosphere, distinguishes it."
Connally writes, "My botanical abstractions reference the wild, sensuous forms and colors I experience in the natural coastal landscapes of Southern California where I live and work.
I strive for a complex elegance with my imagery that merges harmoniously and nearly completely both natural reference and powerful abstraction. The painted surfaces have a life of their own, transcending nature. The layers of brushwork distill the essence of my observations displaying the vital interplay between memory and imagination; reflecting both my exterior and interior experience of it. The rich, multi-layered surfaces of color morph, coalesce and scatter in quietly energetic rhythms to evoke the experience of being surrounded by nature."
Connally finds inspiration in the natural coastlines and verdure of California where she lives and works. Her work has been exhibited extensively across the United States and is included in museum and private collections internationally including The Grace Museum, Longview Museum of Fine Art, The Art Museum of South Texas and Southern Methodist University.
EDUCATION MFA: Southern Methodist University BFA: Wichita State University (Magna cum Laude) Oklahoma University
SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2022 George Billis Gallery LA, Los Angeles, CA 2020 George Billis Gallery Los Angeles, CA 2017 Jack Meier Gallery, Houston, TX 2016 LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM 2016 LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM 2011 Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX 2010 Sullivan Goss-An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA 2009 Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX 2009 Cain Schulte Gallery, San Francisco, CA 2008 Cain Schulte Gallery, San Francisco, CA 2008 Jack Meier Gallery, Houston, TX 2007 McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas, TX 2007 MMGalleries, San Francisco, CA 2006 Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX 2004 CraigHead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX 2002 Forum Gallery, Dallas, TX 2002 McCormick Gallery, Midland, TX 2001 Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX 2001 Forum Gallery, Dallas, TX 1999 Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, TX 1999 The American Kennel Club, NY, NY 1997 Anasazi Gallery, Dallas, TX 1997 ERL Originals, Winston-Salem, NC 1996 Southwest Art Gallery, Dallas, TX
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2022 George Billis Gallery Westport, CT 2021-22 Towards a 21c Abstraction - Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Coos Art Museum, Arts Ft. Worth, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts 2021 Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA 2021 Art Essex Gallery, NYC Invitational - virtual 2021 GraySpace Gallery for Lotusland, Santa Barbara, CA 2018 Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA 2019 Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA 2018 George Billis Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 2018 Westmont Ridly-Tree Museum of Art, Montecito, CA 2018 Wildling Museum of Art & Nature, Solvang, CA 2018 The Arts Fund, Santa Barbara, CA 2018 Sullivan Goss-An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA 2017 Jack Meier Gallery, Houston, TX 2017 Jane Deering Gallery, Gloucester, MA 2017 Paul Mahder Gallery, Healdsburg, CA, 2017 Sullivan Goss-An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA 2015 LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM 2014 McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas, TX 2014 Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA 2014 LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM 2013 Longview Museum of Fine Arts, Longview, TX 2013 LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM 2013 Atkinson Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA 2013 Santa Paula Art Museum, Santa Paula, CA 2012 Atkinson Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA 2012 Sullivan Goss-An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA 2012 Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA 2012 Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Ft. Worth, TX 2012 The Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi 2011 Longview Museum of Fine Arts, Longview, TX 2011 Anderson O’Brien Fine Art, Lincoln, NE 2010 Sullivan Goss-An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA 2010 Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Monica, CA 2008 Hunting Art Prize, Houston, TX 2007 Gerald Peters Gallery, Dallas, TX 2006 Bonhams & Butterfields, San Francisco, CA 2006 Michael Martin Galleries, San Francisco, CA 2004 Pollock Gallery, Dallas, TX 2001 Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KS 2001 The Stage Gallery, NY, NY 2001 Pleiades Gallery, NY, NY 2001 Moudy Art Gallery, Ft. Worth, TX 2001 McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas, TX 2000-2014 ArtHouse at the Jones Center-AMOA, Austin, TX 2000 The Stage Gallery, NY, NY 2000 Moudy Art Gallery, Ft. Worth, TX 2000 San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA 2000 Visual Arts Alliance, Houston, TX 2000 Loudoun House Gallery, Lexington, KY 2000 Dallas Visual Art Center, Dallas, TX 1995-1999Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
GRANTS, SCHOLARSHIPS & AWARDS 2013 Honorable Mention, “Small Images,” Atkinson Gallery, SBCC 2012 Art Council Award, “Lift,” Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art 2012 Juror’s Award, “Small Images,” Atkinson Gallery, SBCC 2008 Hunting Art Prize Finalist (Top 5), Sponsored by Hunting PLC, Houston, TX 2004 Katerine Rigsby Dougan Graduate Scholarship, Southern Methodist University 2003 Southern Methodist University, Meadows Graduate Council Grant 2003 Best Portrait Artist in Dallas, “Best of Dallas Awards,” Dallas Observer 2002 Southern Methodist University, Full Scholarship, MFA Program 2001 Juror’s Award, “Biennial Juried Exhibition,” McKinney Avenue Contemporary 2001 Distinguished Art Award, “Ulrich Alumni Exhibition,” Ulrich Museum of Art 2001 Hawn Foundation Award, “2001 Art in the Metroplex,” Texas Christian University
PRESS 2018 The River’s Journey; One Year, Six Artists, 92 Miles, Santa Barbara Seasons magazine, Spring 2018, by Leslie Dinaberg 2018 Down By, In and About the River, Scene Magazine, March 23 - March 29, 2018, by Josef Woodard 2018 A river runs through them: Six artists take “A River’s Journey” through the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley watershed at the Wildling Museum (Cover photo depicts Connally and her painting being hung in the museum) Santa Maria Sun, by Rebecca Rose 2018 Artists Explore River’s Journey Over Course of a Year, Noozhawk, by Katie Pearson 2016 Connie Connally / Place In Time, at LewAllen Contemporary, solo exhibit, essay by Ken Marvel 2015 Connie Connally, Sammy Peters / Fusion at LewAllen Contemporary, essay by Ken Marvel 2015 Color Play - Primacy Of Color In Contemporary Art at LewAllen Contemporary, essay by Ken Marvel 2013 Now and Then: contrasting Approaches to Key Themes of Modernism at LewAllen Contemporary, essay by Ken Marvel 2013 Art Things, Small and Smaller, The Scene Magazine by Josef Woodard 2013 Six Rising Stars at LewAllen Contemporary, essay by Ken Marvel 2012 Small Images, The Scene Magazine by Josef Woodard 2012 Lift, The Scene Magazine by Josef Woodard 2010 Life Like Water at Sullivan Goss-An American Gallery, solo exhibit, CASA Magazine, by Kerry Methner 2010 100 Grand, An Art Spree for You and Me, The Scene Magazine by Josef Woodward 2009 New Home, New Directions at Craighead Green Gallery, essay by Nance Cohen Israel 2008 Connie Connally / Liquid Line at MMGalleries, SPOTLIGHT, Gallery Guide West 2006 Journey Into Abstraction, Dallas Modern Luxury, by Steve Carter 2002 Finding Your Visual Voice, book, 6 color plates included by Dakota Mitchell and Lee Haroun 2001 Face Time by Annabell Massey, Dallas Observer 2000 Austin Art Scene by Michael Barnes, Austin American-Statesman 2000 Explorations of the Face, Both Realistic and Fanciful, Art Reviews by Helen A Harrison, The New York Times (photo featured my painting)