Art Alliance of Austin Features UT Professor at Art Break


UT associate art professor Dan Sutherland’s current work focuses on a combination of abstract and representation techniques. Sutherland’s work will be displayed in a temporary gallery in his own studio as part of local program Austin Art Breaks.
Photo Credit: Humza Ahmed | Daily Texan Staff

Ever since Daniel Sutherland was six years old, he loved to paint. Encouraged by his parents, he continued to pursue his passion, and has evolved his artistic style dramatically over the years.

Sutherland, a UT associate art professor, will feature his work Jan. 25th as part of Austin Art Breaks, a recurring event hosted by the Art Alliance of Austin. Austin Art Breaks gives its members an intimate look into the creative processes of local artists by turning their personal studios into temporary galleries.

“[Artists] understand art to be a public and social gesture; a cultural gesture,” Sutherland said. “We don’t just make for ourselves, we make and share and hope that somebody else makes and shares.”

Jade Walker, Interim Executive Director of Art Alliance Austin, said one of the unique things about Art Breaks is that it creates a hospitable environment to talk about the artist’s work.

“The artist is talking about his work and there is a social element to it,” Walker said. “People can socialize, spend time together, talk about the art, see the art and feel the inspiration by being in a space like that.”

Sutherland said he hopes that by opening the doors to his studio will allow the public to get a sense of the work that goes into his paintings.

“I have upwards of 30 pieces that I am working on at a given time: Some of them are finished and I also have some finished work from past exhibitions that are in inventory in my studio,” said Sutherland.

When his art is displayed in a more conventional gallery, Sutherland said audiences easily forget that each choice made by the artist is deliberate and requires tremendous consideration. When people view the art in his own studio, Sutherland thinks they will be reminded of all the possibilities that art provides.

“Hopefully someone will see my palette and my hundreds of tubes of paint and chemicals and  make a connection to how the paintings are sort of stacked,” said Sutherland. “The process of making the work is not a process of moving from left to right and being done but a process of distillation, digestion, moving and changing and editing.”

Sutherland said his current painting’s audiences might get to see are a combination of abstract and representation techniques. He said his latest works focus mainly on the difference between the inanimate and organic and the way in which people relate to handmade objects.  

Sutherland’s former student and fellow artist Daniel Dove, professor of painting at California State University Long Beach, said Sutherland’s integration of invention with traditional techniques are what make his art unique.

“[His work] has been deeply informed by pop art graphic and old master technique and realism,” said Dove. “It is abstract at its core but it does have heavy influences from these other groups.”

Walker said she hopes Sutherland’s paintings will provide an experience unlike anything they have done before during an Art Break.

“[His art] gives a different perspective from the other art breaks we have done and this will be a totally different feel,” said Walker. “His abstract work really speaks to the depth of what painting can be. I feel like we have not done that in one of our Art Breaks yet.”