Special “Eye” to Watch
June Mattingly // contributing art writer
Mac Whitney: Painting and Sculpture
at Kirk Hopper Fine Art
The highlight of my gallery going evening on February 19 was visiting Kirk Hopper’s inaugural
show Mac Whitney: Painting and Sculpture (through March 26) in this spacious newly
revamped Deep Ellum space in the 3000 block of Commerce Street crammed full of Mac’s
paintings and sculptures. With this propitious address in the other important center of Dallas
galleries Kirk is going to thrive “emphasizing cutting-edge young Texans to established veterans.”
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|Left: "Lucin," 2010, welded stainless steel, 13' x 5' x 4'
Right: "Carrizozo," 2010, welded steel, 20' x 5'4" x 8'
|One of Mac’s sculptures resided as a distinct red abstract marker in front of Mattingly
Baker gallery in the mid-80s and the gallery assisted Mac in placing a very large
commission in Dallas. Public collections with his work include the Dallas Museum of Art,
Witte Museum in San Antonio and one is on loan to the Nasher. Private Dallas collections
include the Federal Reserve Bank, HKS Architects, and Hall Financial Group. He’s had a
one-person at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington DC and SMU and group-wise at the
Blue Star Contemporary and Laguna Gloria in San Antonio and the Amarillo Art Center.
|"Berino," 2006, welded steel, 156" x 60"x 98"
|Mac was born in 1936 in Kansas and in 1968 he earned an MFA from the University
of Kansas. For 40 years he has maintained a studio in the country close to Dallas committed
primarily as a full-time sculptor constructing increasingly ambitious and
complex volumetric elements in design and scale. Pieces for the outdoor display of
this show were so massive a crane was required to transport and install them.
|One of Houston’s major centrally located pieces of public art is his 50-foot-tall painted red
steel sculpture, a commission funded in 1979 by a grant from the National Endowment
for the Arts. The NEA also gave Mac an individual artist award.
|"Link 82," 2010, oil on canvas, 52" x 42"
|Front: "Brazoria," 2001, welded steel, 110" x 43" x 70"
Rear: "Bronte," 2001, welded steel, 86" x 40" x 40"
|Mac’s comments about this show: “In my oil painting, there is a back and forth between
the painting and the sculpture. They inform each other. My painting is about fragmented
or deconstructed sculpture. In the last few years, I have been using links to make sculpture.
The links are made of steel, stainless steel, or bronze. When put together, these links make
a chain which can become large; some are forty feet tall, and some are kinetic.”
|Kirk Hopper Fine Art
3008 Commerce Street
Dallas, Texas 75226