This week, the Bywaters Special Collections artist profile highlights Vivian Louise Aunspaugh, who is featured in the exhibition Texas Women Artists: Selections from Bywaters Special Collections, on the 2nd floor of Hamon Arts Library.
Vivian Louise Aunspaugh was born August 14, 1869 in Liberty [now Bedford City], Virginia to John Henry and Virginia Fields (Yancy) Aunspaugh. Her father, a cotton buyer, moved the family from Virginia to Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia while Vivian was a child. At sixteen she graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Georgia, where she demonstrated early artistic aptitude and was awarded the Excelsior Art Medal by the school. For the next few years, Vivian taught art and took instruction from several notable art schools and instructors, including the Art Students’ League in New York, where she studied with John Henry Twachtman, and in Paris, France with Alphonse Mucha. In 1890, Vivian returned from Europe and in the following year moved to Texas where she first taught art, French, and penmanship at McKinney College in McKinney, Texas. During the next few years she took on different assignments, including teaching at the Masonic Female College in Bonham, heading the art department at Patton Female Seminary in Dallas, and later, teaching decorative arts at St. Mary’s College, also in Dallas. In 1900, she exhibited her work at the Expo Universelle in Paris, France, where she received a gold medal.
In August, the Jones Film and Video Collection received the Paul Adair Collection, a donation of business records and log books from the Texas-based Interstate Theatre Circuit. The collection includes 180 books that contain the box office records for most of these movie theaters from the 1930s to the 1970s. In addition to being a record of the films showed at these theaters, they also reveal how much each film took in at the box office, cartoons that ran with the movies, and often the negotiated percentage due to the distributor.
This sample page shows three different theaters from Dallas – The Esquire, The Village, and The Inwood during December 1966. It includes the final weeks of the The Inwood’s record setting run of The Sound of Music, which ran for over a year and a half. Over the course of its showing, the theater took in $751,357 in box office receipts.
Blog post: Courtesy of Jeremy Spracklen, Moving Image Curator, Hamon Arts Library
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.
 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.
 Pauline A.Pinckney, Painting in Texas: The Nineteenth Century (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967), p. 118.
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.
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.
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 www.smu.edu/cul/hamon.
Featured image: Robin & Sophie, charcoal on paper, 72″ x 48″ 2017
Images: courtesy of Ira Greenberg