Billis Williams Gallery is pleased to present Connie Connally: Wilderness Playground, the gallery’s third solo exhibition of the artist’s oil paintings. This new body of work further expands Connally’s abstract explorations of the natural world.

In this new series of paintings, Connally is creating a painted history of the rich landscapes and botanical wonders of the Blackland Prairies of Texas. Citing Joan Mitchell as an important influence on her work, Connally employs exuberant, impassioned colors laid on her canvases in a pictorial strategy that teeters between the action painting of her abstract expressionist forebears and a more refined personal style that modulates the strokes and dabs that comprise her surfaces. Her layers of brushstroke read less as agitated ruptures and more like intuitive, sensual experiences rendered as prismatic atmospheres of color and tone. Rich, multi-layered surfaces of color morph, coalesce, and scatter in quietly energetic rhythms that evoke the experience of being surrounded by nature.

Connally’s canvases are the very definition of complex elegance, with imagery that merges harmoniously and nearly completely both representational reference and powerful abstraction. Connally’s poetic colorscapes, with their expressive brushwork, sweeping gestural marks, and animated cadence, reflect the artist’s passion for distilling the essence of her observations of nature and situate her work as the vital interplay between memory and imagination. Her palette of organic color and calligraphic brushstroke combine to serve as an imprint of the artist’s profound love of being in nature and the desire that her painting reflect both her exterior and interior experience of it.

Connie Connally (b. 1952) received her BFA from Wichita State University (Magna cum Laude) in 1973 and her MFA from Southern Methodist University, Texas. Connally's work has been published internationally and exhibited extensively across the United States and is included in museum and private collections internationally including The Grace Museum, Longview Museum of Fine Art, San Angleo Museum of Fine Arts, The Art Museum of South Texas, and Southern Methodist University. She was a university professor of art between 1988 and 2005 and currently lives and works in Texas.