March 9, 2014
Arkansas artists David Bailin, Warren Criswell and Sammy Peters have very little in common as far as their artistic styles go. But for 28 years the trio have met for lunch every other week talking shop and sharing their lives.
"Many other artists have come and gone over the years, but somehow the three of us stuck it out," Criswell said. "It's chance to celebrate our creative discoveries or (complain) about our frustrations, mostly the latter, to others who have experienced the same thing and are in a position to either agree or set us straight."
"We all three take each others' work seriously and probably have a deeper understanding of it than anybody else in the world," Criswell added. "We're like junkies who understand perfectly the others' addiction. We sympathize but know we're not going to be able to kick it. I think it's important to have this kind of relationship. We can manage it because it our work is so dissimilar so disparate that we're not in competition with each other, which is probably why we've been able to stay friends for so long.”
The trio's works will be featured in new exhibition, "Disparate Acts," which opens this week in the Bradbury Gallery of the Arkansas State Univerity Fowler Center. *Bailin. Criswell and Peters have known each other since 1986 when they first began to meet for lunch ... Through these many conversations, they have informed and influenced one another for nearly three decades. Al though their work may seem to have little in common, through this bi weekly interaction they have each played a role in shaping the others' art careers," said Les Christensen, gallery director. "The Bradbury Gallery is honored to present the work of these three artists and friends, together for the first time.”
While the Bradbury Gallery exhibitions feature national and inter national artists, as well as local and regional artists, Christensen said it seemed like a good time to organize a show with a narrower scope to produce an exhibition of serious, contemporary art created within the state.
Christensen first contacted Bailin, who then suggested she consider including the work of Criswell and Peters.
About the artists
Bailin earned a master's degree from Hunter College in New York and a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He has received fellow ship awards from the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Arkansas Arts Council.
Ballin has been featured in several solo and group shows throughout the United States including exhibitions at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, the Visual Arts Center at the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls, S.D., the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Prographica Gallery in Seattle, and most recently Koplin Del Rio Gallery in Culver City, Calif.
His work has been acquired by a number of public institutions including the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection and the Stephens Inc. Collection, both in Little Rock; the Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington D.C. and the ASU Permanent Collection of Art. In 2012, he participated in the 54th annual "Delta Exhibition" at the Arkansas Arts Center and received the prestigious Delta Award.
Criswell was born in West Palm Beach, Fla., in 1936 and has lived in Arkansas since 1978. Primarily a self-taught painter, Criswell is also printmaker, sculptor and animator. He has had 40 solo exhibitions in the United States and one in Taiwan.
His work has been included in 70 group exhibitions in New York, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Arkansas, Virginia, North Carolina, Germany and Taiwan. and is represented in the permanent collections of many institutions, including the Arkansas Arts Center, the McKissick Museum of the University of South Carolina, the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Ga., Historic Arkansas Mu scum in Little Rock, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College, the Center for Arts & Science of Southeast Arkansas; and the Central Arkansas Library System, as well as in private and corporate collections in the United States, Europe and Asia.
In 1996 he was award ed a fellowship grant for painting and works on paper by the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2003 an Individual Artist Fellowship Grant for painting and drawing by the Arkansas Arts Council.
Peters, a native Arkansan, has exhibited his oil and mixed-media paintings in solo and group shows throughout the United States and in Eu rope including exhibitions in Santa Fe, N.M., Phoenix and Scottsdale. Ariz., Atlanta, Houston and Dallas, Memphis, Los Angeles and Santa Monica, Calif., Reno, N.V.; New York, Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Bremen, Germany and Little Rock.
His work has been recognized with several awards and grants including Mid-America Arts Alliance and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, two Vermont Studio Center Fellow ships and a MacDowell Fellowship, along with several awards for individual works of art.
Peters studied at various schools including the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the Arkansas Arts Center School of Arts and Drama and the San Francisco Mime Troupe.
His paintings can be found in numerous collections throughout the United States and in Europe
The artists, who now live in Little Rock, will lead a public discus sion about their work in a gallery talk at 3 p.m. Wednesday. An opening reception will immediately follow the presentation.