Billy Renkl and Brad Durham


Painter and printmaker Brad Durham will be exhibiting new works for his second solo show at Cumberland Gallery, titled How the Land Talks. This new series of paintings explores his signature ethereal landscape while incorporating a subtle atmospheric palette. Applying cool glows to vague forest views, Durham continues to investigate the ambiguous hovering shapes, which he refers to as “independent identities.” These ghostly forms evoke memories as they interact with the surrounding space, prompting a dialogue between the “seen and unseen,” the “known and unknown.” The artist reflects, “Within the language of my art dichotomies exist between the world of the intellect and that of the senses, forming ideas of a transcendental ‘other’.” Influence from Durham’s printmaking aesthetic runs rampant through his unconventional oil ventures, as he lays out the land on square and vertical canvases.

            Brad Durham is originally from California, and is currently living in Minnesota. He studied Painting at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, where he later returned to teach for ten years, and pursued Philosophy at Humboldt State. Additionally, he has completed five residencies in the Northwest. Throughout his 32-year art career, Durham has shown in 47 solo exhibitions, and over 140 group shows nationwide. His work is featured in many public collections including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Phoenix Art Museum, and Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta, along with numerous corporate collections worldwide.

For his sixth show at Cumberland Gallery, Billy Renkl presents 40 works on paper that were inspired by the writings of Henry David Thoreau. Renkl’s creations produce conversation rather than illustration in response to Thoreau’s musings on nature and humanity. This envisioned dialogue is invigorated by a particular question: “The life which men praise and regard as successful is but one kind. Why should we exaggerate any one kind at the expense of the others?”(Walden, 1854). Like Thoreau’s journal, Renkl’s Field Notebook is a search for depth, vitality and beauty as opposed to the rational singularity of the scientific world. By layering didactic images and hand-written words with mixed media, these elements transcend their mundane tasks and become poetic. Renkl’s collages embody the Thoreauvian belief that clear-eyed observation can be powerful and evocative.

          Billy Renkl is currently a Professor of Art (Drawing and Illustration) at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. He earned his MFA in Studio Art, Drawing and Painting at the University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC). Renkl has shown in solo and group exhibitions all over the Southeast.  His work is included in notable collections such as the Tennessee State Museum, College of Notre Dame (Baltimore, MD), Austin Peay State University (Clarksville, TN) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Billy Renkl, November 12, 1851: as many distinct plants (#2), 2013. Collage and mixed media on wood panel, 18 x 24 inches.

Billy Renkl, November 12, 1851: as many distinct plants (#2), 2013. Collage and mixed media on wood panel, 18 x 24 inches.

January 16
Introductions