The Lincoln Parish Museum is pleased to present the mystical and magical art of Kelly Fearing. Kelly Fearing was raised in Ruston and graduated from Louisiana Tech. He attended Columbia University in New York, and then he went to Fort Worth, Texas. In Fort Worth, during World War II, he served his country in a defense job. While being trained in graphic drafting for a company that was making bombers for the United States military, Kelly met Dickson Reeder. Reeder introduced Kelly to other aspiring artists in the area and this group became known as the “Fort Worth Circle”.
In this atmosphere of creativity and high expectations, the members of the “Fort Worth Circle”flourished. Kelly was the last surviving member of the “Fort Worth Circle”. After the war, Kelly taught at Texas Wesleyan where he was head of the art department. He spent his summers in New York City painting and earning his masters degree from Columbia University. He also visited the galleries, museums, theaters, and concerts. In 1947, he was invited to join the faculty of the Department of Art at the University of Texas. This love affair lasted 40 years.
Kelly Fearing has been included in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Art, and Who’s Who in the World. Not only was Kelly Fearing interested in teaching art to college students, but his passion was teaching art to children. He authored many books for teachers to teach art to children. He worked for years with the Junior League in Austin to promote art in the elementary schools. Kelly Fearing died last year, but his art and his books will live forever.
As you walk into the parlor of the Lincoln Parish Museum, you will see Kelly’s art in the late thirtiesand forties. You will see children flying kites and students jitterbugging. You will see a small Catholic church in Jonesboro. You will see a street corner of a southern town back in the fifties. In The Pink Pigs, with its soft muted colors, there is a faint echo of John Sloan and Thomas Hart Benton.
By 1950 he had begun to find his own way—the fingerprints of his soul. In the realm of technique he was exceedingly adventuresome. For special effects he would engage in combining media or in pure experimentation. He would use gold and silver leaf in many of his creations. His study and practice of yoga turned him toward the East and its ancient traditions and mysteries. Kelly Fearing was constantly searching for spiritual refinement. In India he pursued further insights into forms of meditation and the teaching of Indian mystics. An outstanding example of the Indian influence is seen in his large tiger with a green background. This painting seems to be the favorite of the many visitors that have enjoyed this exhibit. Another characteristic of Kelly Fearing’s work is the presence of rocks. He has painted rocks in every size, shape, texture, and color. Over five thousand years ago, the Chinese used rocks as a symbol of their reverence for home, the planet, and a focal point of meditation. These rocks often form a setting for both human beings and animals in Kelly’s art.
As a whole, his favorite human population is devoted to saints including St. John, St. Jerome, St. Rose, St. Anthony, and St. Paul. These were individuals who gave up a life of wealth and personal pleasure for a chance to serve. These were Kelly’s heroes. Throughout his career Kelly Fearing has chosen animals, birds, insects, and fish for his subjects. Cranes, giraffes, rhinoceroses, owls, peacocks, lions, tigers, baboons, and many others inhabited the world of Kelly fearing. Through his art Fearing makes a strong case for the reverence for life. He was one of those artists that embraced life, and he wanted to share his gift with the world.
You are a part of his world because you live in the community that he called home. I strongly urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to see what this artist has accomplished.
This exhibit is free to the public, and it is sponsored by the Board of the Lincoln Parish Museum. Please make every effort to come by and see a lovely exhibit.