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Albino R. Hinojosa: An American Realist

August 11 - September 20, 2009


A budding artist as a child in a poor family in East Texas, he could afford only a knife. So he carved. Today, with brushes, and colors, Albino Hinojosa of Ruston, Louisiana, fills canvases with the uncommon beauty of common items around him.

On August 11, 2009 at the R.W. Norton Art Gallery, thirty-four of those canvases went on exhibit in Albino R. Hinojosa: An American Realist. The exhibition will be on display through September 20, 2009 at the museum, which is open free of charge to the public, and showcases seven centuries of art in 24 galleries.

On August 15, Hinojosa, or "Bino," as his friends call him, gave a one-hour tour of the exhibit, and explained the concept and execution of each work. They feature a soft drink calendar, morning glories climbing a fence, five big persimmons, freshly picked tomatoes, a pulley, and children's pull toys such as cars, trucks, and trains, his family could not afford when he was a child.

Today Hinojosa fills his Ruston studio with just such toys and other objects from everyday life he captures on canvas.


Capturing Moments in Time

"The earliest one dates to 1972," he says of the pieces in the exhibit. "I really had a love affair with it. I created it from nothing. I'm in my still-life phase now," he says. "I paint still lifes with objects in front of me," he says. Working mainly in acrylics on masonite as canvas, Hinojosa captures moments in time, such as a basket and tomatoes fresh from a garden, a lock on a weathered door, hollyhocks against a whitewashed fence-often with shadows from the slant of the sun.

Some reveal a disparate blend of elements, such as Rest Stop, in which a cedar waxwing perches atop a blacksmith's anvil. In 102 in the Shade, the red mercury climbs high on a thermometer, part of a sign advertising a soft drink hanging by a nail on a paint-flaked door. The viewer can almost feel the heat as well as the promise of the sweet, cold treat.

Hinojosa finds still-life beauty in places overlooked, such as carpenter's tools and a gardener's watering can and trowel. Time seems to have passed in his depictions of wooden toys and cloth dolls, as if they've been left on the floor from an owner grown beyond childhood interest.


His First Artist's Brush

Works in the exhibit span much of Hinojosa's career from the early 1970s to his most recent efforts. A native of Atlanta, Texas, and the son of a Cherokee mother and Mexican-American father, Hinojosa grew up in nearby Kildare. He bought his first artist's brush while a senior in high school.

A scholarship from Texarkana College, for which he is still extremely grateful, he says, allowed him to go to college. After receiving his bachelor's degree from East Texas State University, he worked as a commercial illustrator as well as a teacher, later earning a master's of fine arts from Louisiana Tech University. There he remained, eventually serving as associate professor in the school of art and architecture.

Throughout his career, he's held numerous one-man shows, many in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. He won The Holbein Award of the International Society of Acrylic Painters Exhibition in 2000, and best of show in that same juried exhibition in 2002. In 2005 he won the Artists Choice Award in the International Guild of Realism Exhibition in Dallas.

Hinojosa retired in 2000 and turned another corner in his art career. Free from the pressure and time constraints from commission and commercial work, he began concentrating solely on the art he loves.


Works Speak for Themselves

"That released a lot of frustration and stress," he comments, and adds that in painting to please himself, he finds others love his works, too.

"I don't paint to sell," he says. "These paintings I'm doing have improved in quality but they've got this realistic look to them. When people ask me things about my philosophy, I've always said, My work speaks for myself. You see what you get, and that's me."

Hinojosa says the event at the Norton will mark his largest exhibition to date.

"I'm really proud of this group of paintings," he says. "I'm borrowing some of them back from collectors. They all have some little something I cherish about them."

A full color catalogue of the exhibit is available at the Museum shop. The exhibit will continue through September 20, 2009 during the Gallery's regular hours of 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Friday and from 1 to 5 pm weekends.


(above: Albino Hinojosa, In the Shade, 2007)


(above: Albino Hinojosa, Companions, 2005)


(above: Albino Hinojosa, Garden Tools For Sale, 2006)


(above: Albino Hinojosa, Hollyhocks, 2007)


(above: Albino Hinojosa, Retired Clown, 1980)

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