Lonesome Dove and La Vida Brinca
Exhibition Dates: July 14, 2006 - August 14, 2006
Artist Reception: Friday, July 14, 2006 5-7 p.m.
"Time creates images the eye can't see." Bill Wittliff
Bill Wittliff's accomplishments in the fields of art, literature and film making are truly breathtaking. Based in Austin, Texas, he has had a distinguished career as photographer, film producer, director, publisher and screenwriter of the Emmy award-winning television series Lonesome Dove, and the films The Black Stallion, Raggedy Man, Barbarosa, Country, Legends of the Fall and The Perfect Storm. Classic Wittliff photographs made on the set of Lonesome Dove will be exhibited at Andrew Smith Gallery, along with a selection from La Vida Brinca.
As a photographer Wittliff has long been known for his photographs made on the set of the 1989 TV mini-series, Lonesome Dove. In the late 1980s, Wittliff, who had already written scripts for the westerns Barbarosa (1982) and Red Headed Stranger (1986), was signed to write the teleplay for Lonesome Dove and serve as its Executive Producer. Wittliff photographed the cast as filming began in March 1988 in Austin, Texas, making memorable photographs of Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Urich, Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, and Diane Lane in their various roles. During the 88 days of filming he photographed the cast as they filmed in Del Rio, Texas in April, and Santa Fe, New Mexico in May. Aired on CBS in February 1989, Lonesome Dove's high ratings and critical acclaim quickly made it a timeless classic among fans of the American West. One of Wittliff's photographs from the series titled Gus on the Porch remains the best selling single original photograph of the last decade.
Wittliff's photographic relationship with Mexico began in 1969 when he made numerous trips to the vast El Rancho Tule in northern Mexico to photograph the vanishing culture of Mexican vaqueros as they worked cattle and horses. He continues to divide his time between Texas and Mexico and is intimately familiar with the history, culture, geography and spiritual beliefs on both sides of the border. Since the late 1990s Wittliff has been photographing Hispanic fiestas, religious observances, people, architecture, and rural scenes in Mexico, Texas, and New Mexico. Far from being documentary, these photographs probe beneath the literal look of things, exposing an uncanny realm where half ordinary, half specter-like forms inhabit another reality. Over 100 photographs appear in Wittliff's recent book, La Vida Brinca (Life Jumps), published by UT Press in 2005.
Bill Wittliff was born in 1940 in Taft, a small town in south Texas. In 1963, after graduating from the University of Texas, Wittliff and his wife Sally, founded the Encino Press, which specialized in nonfiction about Texas. Among their publications was Larry McMurtry's seminal book of Texas essays titled, In a Narrow Grave: Essays on Texas.. Wittliff's interest in Texas literature and historic photography led he and his wife to found the Southwestern Writers Collection and Wittliff Gallery of Southwestern and Mexican Photography at Texas State University. He also gathered an extensive collection of photographs from the commercial photographers who worked Boystown in Nuevo Laredo. Despite his successes in Hollywood, Wittliff chose to stay in Texas where he continues to support and influence its arts and culture.
Bill Wittliff's photographs have been exhibited in numerous galleries and institutions throughout the U.S., Mexico and Japan, including the Institute of Texan Cultures, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and the Texas capitol. He has two books of his photographs in print: Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy (UT Press, 2004), and La Vida Brinca (Life Jumps) (UT Press, 2005).
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