May ~ June 2003
Ann Huey ~ Paintings
Debra Rueb ~ Photographs
I was born in Beaumont, Texas, 1955, to cultured people. Beaumont is also the home of artists David Cargill, John Alexander and Keith Carter, whom I mention only to benefit from a link with them in your subconscious minds. It’s also the home of the great athlete, Babe Didrickson Zaharias, and site of the largest oil gusher in history. Refinement and refineries co-exist well there.
I got a degree in painting from the University of Dallas in 1978. Twenty-one years later, I decided to get serious about it. I quit my full-time job to pursue a pre-destined path to artistic freedom, psychotic episodes and financial ruination.
This group of paintings began with one I did of a family friend from a snapshot I took in the early ‘70s. I liked it, got good feedback, and sold it, so I decided to do some more, using pictures I took in the late ‘60s. All the people here are family, excepting Lady Bird, who I wish was family.
They aren’t intended to be portraits in the traditional sense. I applied paint as sparsely as possible and left them uncluttered with backgrounds.
And speaking of clutter... I thought I should wrap up the year 1967 with a collage of everything I remembered or that actually happened, that would fit or that I had time for or thought I could pull off visually. I was about 12 years old in 1967. I researched ad-nostalgium and got really homesick in the process.
Now, we don’t know why, specifically, the Women and Their Work folks paired Debra and me, but I think their decision was brilliant, and I’m blessed to have met her and launch this show—a launching not unlike the fateful voyage of the SS Minnow, which was supposed to be a 3-hour tour... a 3-hour tour. But, being marooned with Debra, Mary Ann, was so much fun, we didn’t need a laugh track.
Anyway, I suppose I must also acknowledge Tammy*, whom I’ve gotten to know pretty well, too. Up until a few months ago, I wasn’t even aware of her existence, but was very familiar with the movies and could even sing the Tammy’s In Love song. But Debra’s Tammy is nothing like that Tammy. I’m fairly certain we all enjoy living vicariously through her.
This Tammy is not without some serious issues, however. She has a thrill-seeker personality, cliché-oriented behavior, and denies her own sense of dollness. Apparently, Tammy doesn’t know she’s a doll, but if that’s so, why don’t you ever see her without Debra? A classic case of co-dependence.
Maybe that’s why they teamed us... I live in the past and Debra plays with dolls.
*Tammy was Debra’s childhood doll. Tammy was made by The Ideal Toy Company during the 1950’s in the image of the popular swamp philosopher Debbie Reynolds perkily played in two of the movies featuring the name “Tammy”. In Debra’s photographs, Tammy acts out clichés in both black and white and digital color.