Tin Toys and Raw Realities


The nostalgia of childhood playthings – from cowboys and plastic army men to Batman & Robin – meets the contemporary style of Fort Worth artist John Hartley in the Tyler Museum of Art’s next major exhibition, Tin Toys & Raw Realities. Organized by the TMA, this solo exhibition of Hartley’s work opens to the public Sunday, March 1 and continues through June 28 at the Museum, 1300 S. Mahon Ave. on the Tyler Junior College main campus. Admission is free.

Hartley, an Ohio native who relocated to Fort Worth to study art at Texas Christian University in 1982, serves as an associate professor of art at Tarrant County College Northwest Campus as well as director of Gallery 414 in Fort Worth. His work, noted for its lifelike quality and dynamic subject matter, is featured in numerous private and public collections including the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

Grouped together with objects from the artist’s private collection, TMA’s Tin Toys & Raw Realities features more than 20 paintings – some recently finished and never seen by the public – spotlighting toys from the past and the duality of Hartley’s unique approach.

“The title, Tin Toys & Raw Realities, references the multiple ideas present throughout Hartley’s work,” exhibition organizer Caleb Bell said. “At first glance, each painting just appears to be a lifelike rendering of a toy or object – ‘Tin Toys.’ With a little more exploration, the viewer quickly realizes that more is being conveyed – ‘Raw Realities.’”

Collectors’ Circle-Gold Sponsors for Tin Toys & Raw Realities are the McElfatrick Charitable Foundation, and Betty and Dick Summers.

TMA members are invited to meet the artist and get a sneak peek at the exhibition during the Preview Reception from 5:30-7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Museum. To RSVP or for information on becoming a Museum member, call (903) 595-1001 or visit www.tylermuseum.org.

In connection with the weeklong TJC Festival of the Arts April 10-17, Hartley will present a lecture program titled “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 16 in TJC’s Jean Browne Theatre. Other special events include First Friday Art Tours at 11 a.m. March 6 and April 3 at the Museum; and Family Days from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, March 14 and April 11, also at the TMA. All special events are open to the public and admission is free.

The Tyler Museum of Art is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and a participant in the North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM), which allows TMA members to receive free or discount admission at hundreds of additional museums throughout the U.S. and Canada. For a complete list of participating NARM institutions, visit http://narmassociation.org. Regular TMA hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday; the Museum is closed Mondays and most major holidays. The TMA is supported by its Members, Tyler Junior College and the City of Tyler. For more information, call (903) 595-1001 or visit www.tylermuseum.org.