CINNABAR Introduces Molthen & Davila

How does Susan Oliver Heard top her award-winning, smash grand opening with renowned photographer George Krause?

By adding another layer.


We got a great sneak-preview tour with Susan of the new installation at Cinnabar featuring the work of sculptor Bill Molthen and painter Kelvyn Davila. The show opens Wednesday, October 23, at the Blue Star Art Complex, 6pm – 8pm.

Molthen’s “Steel Sketches” are just that — sketches. The initial impression of the work is that it is very gestural, quick. When working in steel I-beam, however, nothing is quick. None of the work is welded, it is all laser-cut, annealed and formed. In a really odd way, it reminds me of the art of paper cutting. There are two works that appear to be quite solid — until you touch them and they start swaying and jiggling. Absolutely delightful.


Molthen is self-taught, bringing his knowledge and skills that were absorbed during a career in metal fabrication and blacksmithing for architectural and engineering applications into the realm of art. “My first studies were made by cutting patterns into steel plate and manipulating these flat patterns into 3-dimensional forms according to a predetermined set of rules.” Indeed, this discipline and train of thought is still evident upon examination. The works define themselves in the space very eloquently. Molthen succeeds in making the work fluid. Frankly, very few working in this media achieve this lightness. They just give in to “the heavy.” Molthen doesn’t.


Juxtapose this sculpture against the colorful works of Kelvyn Davila in “Archetypal Fantasies” and you have a very interesting combination of energies in play. Davila speaks manic — fluently. At first glance, you are hit with the color-play, the cellular effect of old-world stained glass. Then you see the faces. Then you find the figures. You are pulled deeper into the work, searching for where the theme is going. Bam! You are back on the surface. Wow! The detail is stunning. The information loaded into the surface is mesmerizing. In these works on board, Davila breaks all the rules combining oils, acrylics, newsprint, metallic inks — it appears that nothing is off limits.


After studying psychology at Columbia University, Davila attended Parsons School of Fine Arts. There, he encountered a teacher that bade him destroy his best work on completion. “This experience taught him his art did not belong to him but must be set free immediately. It had to be shared with humanity.” Subsequently, he has become an extraordinarily prolific painter. It is amazing that so much detail is packed into every piece, each one a veritable dream-scape. Jung would have a field day with this!


Cinnabar is one of the new generation of art galleries on the scene, and albeit the newest kid on the block, this director is quite the old hand. Heard took her time when selecting the space, weighing options. She even considered The Pearl — beautiful, but not an arts destination. She finally arrived at the decision to locate in Blue Star. At first she says, “I hated the space. I couldn’t believe my real estate agent even showed it to me!”  After looking at a few other spaces that she “couldn’t quite make work,” they came back to this one and it clicked. She had to eat crow, because this was it. She is enjoying the vibe in the hood, the way it is evolving, and clearly enjoys her neighbors. In fact, she is a co-chair of the upcoming Blue Star Museum gala — “Back To The Future” honoring arts visionary and Blue Star Founder, Bernard Lifshutz. Shameless plug here: there is still time to get your tickets — the event is November 16th!

It is easy to see that Heard is passionate about art and takes her new venture quite seriously. Although Susan is an award winning jewelry designer, she repeatedly averred that the project “isn’t about me. It’s about the art.”  It is quite interesting — understanding that Susan is a home-town girl — that after more than a decade in the rarified climes of the art and pristine wilderness market of Telluride, she brought her love back home. “I’ve had lots of opportunity, and this is what I love.”

As we work our way through the current exhibit, it is notable that she shares anecdotes about the artists she represents. It’s low-key and real. Little stories. The kind that life is made of. As she shows a piece of jewelry, or shares a glimpse of a catalogue featuring upcoming artists, or reminisces about meeting on a ski lift and looking at artwork on one of the first iPhones. She speaks of reconnecting with Texas through a wonderful community of artists in Wimberley. And we know that she will bring them in to play, all in due time. It seems holistic, and a progression that unfolds like a good friendship.



To view the entire album, click here.

Gallery Hours:   Tuesday – Saturday, 12-6 — Sunday, 1-4:30 — Closed on Mondays. Occasionally the gallery may be closed for a few days between shows, call ahead to check at 210-557-6073.


One thought on “CINNABAR Introduces Molthen & Davila

  1. Pingback: A Great Way To Start The Year: Cinnabar | ArtBlog San Antonio

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