Often when traversing the streets of Abilene, I drive through the underpasses at Hickory and Butternut Streets and Pine and Oak Streets. This passage, often relegated to my subconscious, has been captured in oils on canvas in a new show by Dub Wellborn at the Center for Contemporary Arts. When I gaze at the creation of Wellborn’s “Underpass at Hickory and Butternut,” I am slow to realize that the pristine world he has created is all at once familiar and yet ethereal.
This painting is part of an exhibition of drawings and paintings titled: “In Through Out,” a process or an exploration of image, as it becomes a visual statement. The title is evocative of the artist’s intention to bring the viewer along on his artistic journey in-through-out his work.
“In Through Out” is a visual exploration made for people, places and objects that are unknown yet familiar. A two-dimensional plane becomes three dimensional. A space with lines that move in by their individual characteristics and relationship to one another, while the addition of strokes of color enhance the journey.
While a student at the University of Houston, Wellborn was influenced by famous sculptor James Surls. He recommended to Wellborn that he look at his immediate world and make art from what he simply saw every day.
More of a mentor, the international painter Gail Stack, Wellborn’s painting instructor, encouraged him to seek a personal vision with his work and to paint with a greater honesty. That honesty comes when you don’t paint what others expect as much as what is expected of oneself.
A quote from William Faulkner, one of Wellborn’s favorite novelists, defines his process of being an artist: “Don’t be ‘a writer.’ Be writing.” For Wellborn, he must be painting.
He teaches digital arts at Texas State Technical College and figurative drawing and painting at McMurry University and Abilene Christian University. His exhibition, “In Through Out”, will be on display in the Breed Gallery during September and October. The Center for Contemporary Arts is a non-profit organization that is free to the public.
Other underpass paintings by Wellborn may be seen at Bogie’s Specialty Deli, 241 Cypress St. in downtown Abilene.