Since the 1970’s, Texas native Sam Gummelt (Born in Waco, 1944) has a reputation as one of Texas’ leading non-objective abstract artists. He is a rightful successor of the first and second generation of non-objective Texas artists such as Toni Laselle and Joseph Glasco. His solo exhibition in 1979 at the Fort Worth Art Museum (now Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth) at the age of thirty four brought him much recognition as a commited young Modernist painter.
Gummelt courts Jasper Johns and Brice Marden as serious influences. Marden’s waxy surfaces trigered Gummelt’s investigation and use of divergent materials as did John’s use of objects. Even more so, John’s remarkable use of the color gray to blanket a painting had a profound and continued influence on Gummelt’s work.
Gummelt’s work most often draws inspiration from architecture, using his own photographs as preparatory studies for his mixed media paintings. In the 1990’s, the artist Sean Scully would take a similar approach although Gummelt’s work remains more architectonic than Scully’s. One could construe that Gummelt meeting renown Texas architect Frank Welch in 1975 resulted in a continued use of architectural references but more importantly led to a lifelong friendship of investigative seeing and sharing.
Gummelt builds many of his larger works by assembling either canvas panels or wooden panels resulting in modular constructions. He often manipulates the wooden surfaces by cutting shallow horizontal and vertical grooves in the panels. This technique was used extensively in the works from 2001-2004; note Galveston, 2001.
Several recent works from 2018 will be included in this exhibition. These smaller scale works incorporate cardboard boxes as the substrate. The formal components of these works come via lines and negative spaces of the boxes while playing against a variety of materials and rich surfaces.
Sam Gummelt received a BA from Noth Texas State University and an MFA from Southern Methodist University. He received a National Endowment for the Arts artist fellowship and his works have been included in numerous solo exhibitions including Then and Now, 1970-2005 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas, TX, Gerald Peters Gallery, Dallas, TX, Dunn and Brown Contemporary, Dallas, TX, Janie C. Lee Gallery, Dallas and Houstion, TX, as well as the Fort Worth Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas.
His Participation in group exhibitions includes Interchange, Walker Art Center Minneapolis, MN, American Drawing in Black and White, The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, The State I’m In: Texas Art at the DMA, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX, and many other museums across the US.
Gummelt’s work is in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Old Jail Art Center, and other Texas institutions and private collections.