The Canary (In the Coal Mine), oil on canvas 51” x 50”
Texas based painter Billy Hassell, has established a name for himself as a contemporary interpreter of the natural world. Informed and inspired by nature, his paintings explore pattern ranging from the scales of fish to the flight patterns of birds, as well as derivations of pattern from nature into common, everyday applications such as wallpaper and fabric designs. Although, exaggerated and highly stylized, the patterns in Hassell’s work, as well as the flora and fauna, are all based upon direct observation. The birds, fish, and other creatures establish a presence (or absence) in the landscape as a strong indicator of the relative well-being of the environment. They symbolize life (and in some cases, as with the crow, death). They are not merely decorative embellishments but have a basis in reality and to some extent establish location and a sense of place.
Billy Hassell received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts. His work is widely exhibited across the nation and he is represented by several commissioned works including the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport International Terminal, Dallas Texas; the Audubon Society of Texas, Austin; Texas Nature Conservatory, San Antonio; and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Hassell’s artwork is also featured in numerous private and public collections including the The Menil Collection, Houston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Wichita Falls Museum and Art Center, Wichita Falls, TX; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth, Ft. Worth; Landmark Bank, Madill, OK University of Texas, Austin; Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City, IA.