James Pace’s collages on view at Tyler Junior College through Sept. 30

James Pace stands beside one of his mixed-media pieces on view at Tyler Junior College through Sept. 30. Courtesy Preston Snow.

PRESTON SNOW, TJC DrumBeat

Sometimes the artist destroys to create. That’s often true for James Pace, a University of Texas at Tyler professor whose art is on display at Tyler Junior College.

The gallery at Wise Auditorium is showing his “Mixed Media” through Sept. 30.

Each creative and diverse piece is made up of a variety of elements.

Take “rubbleCODE” for example. Its colors vary with red, gray, black, brown and white. Metal, glass, wood and paper all connect to form one piece of art.

Pace said, when he makes his mixed media art, he is constantly driven by “invention, innovation and discovery” and the need “to take some chances with the work.”

The goal, he said, is for each piece to represent an “analogy to what is going on, whether it is culturally, personally or historically.”

For Pace, the creative process is “always (about) trying to find a synthesis between process, intention and discovery.”

Pace said he was selective about which of his pieces he included in the exhibit and wouldn’t show pieces unless they had a “particular viability about them.”

From an early age, Pace knew exactly what he wanted to do for a career.

Raised on a ranch in Oklahoma, he was attracted to the physical materials around him. As a young man, Pace said he always drew and “found self-identity through making art.”

Pace said his path as an artist was also paved by professors who provided a “profound impact of my sense of aesthetic pursuit and scientific investigation.”

He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s degree in fine art from Arizona State University. He has trained in printmaking programs and as participant in the International Artist Residency Program in Budapest, Hungary, according to information on his website.

Pace has served as a professor of visual art at UT Tyler since 1985. His works are found in collections in the United States and abroad.

His wife, Philana Oliphant Pace, is an art professor at TJC. She described her husband as a risk taker when it comes to making art.

She said his art reflects culture, his history and personal life and also has the ability to tell a story.

“Similar to how a creek mixes with leaves, branches and rocks from the forces of nature, so does this art with the metal, glass, wood and paper, creating a new form,” Mrs. Pace said of one of husband’s pieces. “What was once broken is together again.”

She continued, “Much like life, you can choose to take things that are broken and use them for good to craft your character into something beautiful.”

Preston Snow is studying mass communication at Tyler Junior College.

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