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Ageless Art by Bill Kysor

Walking into The MAC was a completely surprising experience. I had seen Chris Kysor's work in the DCCA show last year, but I had never seen Bill Kysor's paintings. And Bill's work is just like Bill: colorful, clever, assertive, open yet mysterious, seemingly simple yet complicated.

I knew Bill to be a potter because of his very fine one-man pottery department at St. Mark's School of Texas. But I now know him as the powerful painter that he has always been.

Bill Kysor - Target Practice, 1967
acrylic on canvas - 34 x 12
both sides, with ambient (left)
and daylight flash

 

Artist and one of Bill's professors at UNT, James Allenbaugh, says that Bill's paintings are timeless. Bill is a dedicated Art Teacher, and sometimes (a lot of the time) being a full-time teacher and a producing artist don't mix. I know this from personal experience.

 

Bill Kysor - Hot Lips / Cool Lips, 1973
acrylic on canvas - 48 x 65

 

He was conspicuously absent from the Texas Mud show, and I shamelessly lobbied for him to be in next one. So seeing this work from the 1960s and 70s gave me a bittersweet poignant feeling. What if he hadn't got that teaching position? ... But also, what if he had never become a teacher?

Bill Kysor - Womb Mates, 1973
acrylic on canvas - 50 x 70

 

Art teachers are responsible for educating future art patrons as well as future artists. And Dallas desperately needs educated art patrons who truly appreciate art, not art's price tag.

Bill's grandfather was an illustrator, and his mother painted landscapes. Now Chris is looking for a full-time teaching position. Thank goodness for the Kysors and all the art teachers in Dallas.- KDS
 

Chris Kysor spoke at the MAC on February 5. About 25 people attended, despite cold and rain. First, the 30-year-old son showed slides of decades old shaped paintings by his father, Bill Kysor, explaining and describing that body of work. That sequence stopped abruptly without explanation.

What actually happened is that Bill Kysor got a job at St. Marks School. The opportunity was to begin a pottery department.

Bill, a painter who had taken maybe one ceramics class ever, immersed himself in the new form, which is much more easily understood -- indeed, grasped -- by the Middle School students he would be teaching than painting.

Eventually, Bill Kysor built what Kathy calls "an amazing department" and became a remarkably good potter. Along the way, he quit painting.

Except, as he told me before his son's formal presentation at The MAC, for painting on ceramics, which he noted was much more subtle.

I'm sorry we didn't get to see the sudden new direction the senior Kysor's creativity took, either on the walls at The MAC or via slides in the Talk. But now that I want to see more, I suspect I will get the chance.

Son Chris' slide talk continued "decades later" with his own work. He showed slides of his own progression of work, in which his father's work played an important part.

I hadn't much appreciation for Chris' work before he showed us how he got there. Now, I want to see more of his earlier work. I was already amazed at the senior Kysor's paintings. -JRC

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