Fayetteville artist Daniel Coston is the featured artist at Cantrell Gallery, where he's showing his paintings of the Delta landscape's abandoned buildings in a show called "Structures." From Cantrell Gallery's press release, Coston's artist statement:
“In the 1960’s, Life Magazine did a special article on Andrew Wyeth, publishing several of his paintings. A lot of his work was obviously “rural” and I was taken by the paintings in the magazine and especially the way he worked. He used these “old places” to explore his feelings about life and death. I do not paint like Wyeth — he was a serious painter and his work was NOT about sentimentality. There is a feeling of harshness about his work. I see the same harshness evident in my Delta work. Structures survive if there is a reason to keep using them. If they are not useful, they are generally torn down; unless they aren’t in the way ... then maybe they get left. But they get left to rot. They aren’t left as some memorial to a past life.
I am drawn to these remnants of a way of life that has mostly disappeared. I have some interest in “saving” them in painted form. I suspect that my main interest in them is the connection to my childhood, when many more of these structures were around.
The structures that I have painted for this exhibit are noticeably vertical. Anything vertical stands out on the Delta ... which is obviously horizontal. For whatever reason, I find Delta landscapes interesting. It’s not JUST the old stuff or just the dilapidated. It’s not JUST how rusty something is. Things don’t have to be about a week from collapsing for me to get interested. But when I see something that can be worked up into an interesting composition ... then I get interested.
But just because I get interested doesn’t mean it made it into this exhibit. I have to STAY interested — for years sometimes. And then I pull that painting back out and finish it or sand it off. Often enough, I have to be as harsh as the process that eliminates most of these Delta structures.
Some structures last and some vanish without a trace. I have managed to save a few of them. And some of them are here in this exhibition.”
The show opens with a reception tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the gallery, 8206 Cantrell Road, and runs through April 28.