New exhibitions presented at the South West Museum

MIDLAND Two new exhibits have recently opened at the Museum of the South West as Loc Huynh’s “Texanese” and Shannon Cannings’ “Target Audience” opened late last month.

“Target Public” will be on display at the museum until August 14 while “Texanese” will be on display until September 18.

Huynh, of Vietnamese and Chinese descent, grew up in Austin and earned his BFA from Texas State University in 2016. He did graduate school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and received his MFA from the University of North Texas in 2020. Today he works in Houston.

“Loc Huynh is really at the start of his career,” said Matthew Ward, curator of the Southwest Museum. “This is his first personal exhibition in a museum. He is a 30 year old artist. He is originally from Austin.

Through painting, Huynh “used materiality to reaffirm the material world”, according to her biography.

In his biography, Huynh describes the vocabulary of images he uses which are idiosyncratic but also serve as evidence of his biography.

“Texanese,” which Ward describes as “very autobiographical,” is a series of tongue-in-cheek self-portraits that place him in a fictional Old West.

“Each piece incorporates their past, their Vietnamese, Chinese and Texan heritage,” Ward said. “We developed this exhibition together, based on the Museum of the Southwest, based on our collection, which contains a lot of traditional western art.

Ward said it was also based on Huynh’s experience as an Asian American growing up in Texas.

“He would tell me that while he was in Texas he often looked Asian and that his Asianness was a factor, but when he got out of Texas, when people found out he was from Texas, they would ask him if he was from Texas. “he rode horses or shot guns. In one place he is known for one stereotype and when he is outside that place he is known by another. It is really about this dichotomy of individuality.

Ward said it was also a commentary on traditional Western artwork like pieces by Frederick Remington.

A painting from Shannon Cannings’ exhibit titled “Target Audience” is on display Wednesday at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland. (Michael Bauer|American Odessa)

But while Huynh is an up and coming performer, Cannings is well established.

While Huynh’s exhibit focuses on elements of the wild west, Cannings focuses on a topic that has become more topical with the debate surrounding firearms.

His exhibit features bright colors, smooth surfaces, and packaging of toy guns that are his subject matter.

Cannings, who was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received her BFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and her MFA from Syracuse University in New York.

She has been a professor at Texas Tech University for almost 20 years now, teaching, drawing and painting.

“She first started focusing on plasticity, focusing on plastic objects after moving to West Texas,” Ward said. “She wanted color. She wanted something simple and nostalgic. So she started painting beach balls and pool floats. These things really pleased him.

At some point, she started painting toy water guns.

“They have this connection with nostalgia,” Ward said. “They are fun and attractive. But for Cannings, they also have a more serious quality to them and it’s that connection we have with guns at an early age.

In Cannings’ statement about the exhibition, she asks herself – and the viewers her paintings face – do these hyperrealistic depictions of toy guns glorify and aestheticize violence as well? What lessons do people learn from gun games?

“Squirt guns and toy guns, they’re appealing,” Ward said. “They are plastic. They are colorful and fun. This is our first experience with firearms, but what does it mean to grow into adulthood? »

In the exhibition, water guns are placed in confusing settings where everything is confusing.

“For Cannings, it represents conversations with gun culture in America,” Ward said. “Sometimes they are loud and shouting and a lot of confrontation, but how many of those discussions are productive? That’s why she uses this target symbol. The target is there as a beacon of hope that we can focus on and that by removing the noise and confusion from the media, we can have productive, balanced conversations where we can discuss the intricacies and trade-offs and meet us in the middle. ”

Ward emphasized that the message behind Cannings’ exhibit should not be biased.

“The intent is only that we can have open conversations about it and the only way to do that is to have honest, open conversations and not yell or fight and really talk to each other,” Ward said. .

For more information on both exhibits, visit tinyurl.com/5fmwnnbw.

If you are going to

  • What: Texas Exhibitions and Target Audience.
  • When: Target Audience: Now through August 14, Texas: Now through September 18.
  • Where: Southwest Museum.

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