ashland.news
June 14, 2024

Ashland artist’s show opens Friday at Phoenix gallery

Doug Wallace with his paintings. Art Van Kraft photo for Ashland.news
May 17, 2024

Former NEA head hosts artist’s reception, Ekphrastic poetry reading

By Art Van Kraft for Ashland.news

Ashland artist and Hollywood screenwriter Doug Wallace’s lifelong devotion to creativity is on display in a one-man art show at the Jack Langford Gallery through June. The show opens with an artist’s reception and Ekphrastic poetry event hosted by John Frohnmayer, a writer, poet and former head of the National Endowment of the Arts from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 17, at 4850 S. Pacific Highway, Phoenix.

Doug Wallace with one of his paintings. Art Van Kraft photo for Ashland.news

The exhibit features 52 paintings and three sculptures ranging in style from surrealism to fantastic realism — and finally to what Wallace calls “eclectic romanticism.” 

“It’s the now that I want people to see, it’s what I want people to think about, to look at the world in a little bit different way,” Wallace said.

Wallace’s painting “The Tree of Life” was inspired by his desire to express the connectivity of all life.

“The inspiration was kind of a Renaissance woman surrealistically. I tried to show the earth, the plants, the trees, the flowers, the birds and butterflies, the beast, the women — and they’re all interconnected to the tree of life,” he said. 

The Tree of Life is one theme, but Wallace goes deeper into what, sooner or later, must be. “One theme I express is the brevity of life. I painted a fancy picture of a skull, but it’s just a reminder that life is brief. When it’s Autumn in your life you can understand the melting clock,” Wallace said. 

He has also written songs “to actually be singing and writing about social issues, whether it’s a woman with a broken heart, or what’s going on Gaza,” Wallace said. 

“If you look, you will see that music is in all of these paintings. I was staying at Jennifer Batten’s house, she’s a guitarist who played on all three of Michael Jackson’s world tours and toured and recorded with Jeff Beck. I drew a series of pen and ink works that were inspired by her music,” Wallace added. 

Paintings by Doug Wallace. Art Van Kraft photo for Ashland.news
A painting by Doug Wallace. Art Van Kraft photo for Ashland.news

Wallace has lived in Ashland for 10 years and has a home in the Railroad District. 

“My studio is a little office where I write and paint. It’s a small, one hundred-year-old house, and my studio is in the place where you would put your washer and dryer. I’ve converted it. When I play music, I come here to the Langford Gallery and play with friends,” he added. 

A painting by Doug Wallace. Art Van Kraft photo for Ashland.news

“I was surprised at how many good artists are here in Ashland, but in 10, sadly I’ve seen it go the other way. My good friends are starting the new gallery in Talent. I’ve seen the trend, the way Ashland’s changing. It’s like what happened to places like Aspen. A great little mountain town and now it’s mega place. There’s a Renaissance going on in Talent and Phoenix. This change has been taken place a lot of places, not just Ashland,” Wallace explained. 

Wallace’s paintings have been exhibited at the Rogue Gallery in Medford, The Grants Pass Museum, and Gypsy Art du Jour in Medford. Future shows for 2024 are scheduled for the Bellhouse Gallery in Talent and Bloomsbury Blends in Ashland. 

Wallace also has been a writer in Hollywood, working in both film and television. He has written two novels, the Sci-Fi novel “Phase Out – The Liar’s Moon” and book one of the fantasy trilogy, “A Force of Will.”

Art Van Kraft is an artist living in Ashland and a former broadcast journalist and news director of a Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate. Email him at artukraft@msn.com.

Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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