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Four artists dust off their West Texas boots for Dallas' Lone Gallery's debut exhibition

Visitors take a selfie in front of a larger-than-life oil painting of Mexican abstract images.
Sally Verrando
Art by Cruz Ortiz
Lone Gallery in Dallas treats visitors to a multisensory experience at its grand opening with the abstract and ethereal work of contemporary artist Cruz Ortiz. Here a visitor stands in front of Cruz's oil painting titled, "El Corrido de Cuando My Phone Died."

You can almost hear the coyotes howl and the wind blow at Lone Gallery's exhibition of West Texas art, featuring internationally-known artist Cruz Ortiz.

Faint melodies of mariachi music float on the air like pied pipers, luring outsiders to a corner building in an obscure section of Dallas’ Design District North. Opening the door, the staccato beat blasts the ears as the eyes fill with shades of indigo, terra cotta and forest green. It’s the premiere of Lone Gallery.

Owners J.P. and Erin Hossley created a 2,000-square-foot space to showcase some of their favorite artists in the front section of their retail furniture business, {neighborhood} Showroom. They have featured art for 13 years, J.P. said, ever since they opened their original location in Bishop Arts. They moved three years ago to the Design District.

“We've always loved to pair the art with the furniture,” he said, talking over the music, “but then we needed a space where we could just have an exhibition.”

And a party. Erin said the featured artist Cruz Ortiz from San Antonio wanted something lively, “a throw-down like you’d have in your backyard.” Nuevo cumbia soon replaces mariachi. Cranked up, the band draws a crowd. More people arrive.

A mariachi band plays at The Lone Gallery opening with a wall of Mexican abstract art by Cruz Ortiz in the background.
Sally Verrando
Art my Cruz Oritz
“For me,” Ortiz said, “it’s all about understanding community, understanding placement, understanding about what the voice of Texas is and the different variances of the voices. Showing here means so much because it’s kind of like coming back home.” The music of Mariachi Quetzal greets guests at Lone Gallery's first exhibit of “Danza de los Cosmicos” by the San Antonio artist.

A West Texas vibe links all the artists in the exhibition.

“We love Marfa in West Texas,” J.P. said. “We started going out there about 20 years ago, and we just haven't been able to stop.”

Ortiz said he met the Hossleys in Marfa. He's shown his art from Los Angeles to the Louvre, San Juan to the Smithsonian and all over Texas. His oil canvases fill the main gallery.

“Danza de los Cosmicos” at Lone Gallery is his first major Dallas show. “For me,” he said, “it’s all about understanding community, understanding placement, understanding about what the voice of Texas is and the different variances of the voices. Showing here means so much because it’s kind of like coming back home.”

A woman in a cap looks at a wall of Mexica abstract art by Cruz Ortiz.
Sally Verrando
Art by Cruz Ortiz
A guest at the Lone Gallery views the paintings by featured artist Cruz Ortiz. The first three, from left to right, are "Cuando I Keep Falling in Love Contigo," "Cuando We Listened to River Tribes" and "Olivia y Jaynie at The Hispanic Gala."

The native Texan said he painted all the work in the past year after the Uvalde shooting.

“I think after that it really sent me into this different—not direction—but like implosion,” he said. “The only way to figure that out was to really dig into the artwork of it. Like, how do we function as humans?”

This episode and the state’s political and social changes are things that churn inside him “all the time,” Ortiz said. “This is probably the most political show I’ve ever done.” His artwork is more than just illustrations of cowboys and Mexican abstract images.

"The show's about attention span," he said. "It's about paying attention to who and where you come from. And understanding what harms we have done."

He said he questioned how he and other artists can "talk about humanity through paint. We’ve got to paint and paint a lot. And just don’t think. Just paint,” he said then paused and added with a wry smile, “Like Yoda stuff.”

His wife Olivia helps him with his artistic process. She is recognizable as his muse in many of his paintings throughout the exhibition.

Two women stand in front of a painting of three women sitting together in a garden.
Sally Verrando
Art by Cruz Ortiz
Olivia Ortiz, the artist's wife and muse, is the subject of many of his paintings. Her best friend since childhood, Adriana Alanis, left, and Olivia, right, modeled for the painting, "Adriana, Olivia, y Carina at the Cantina Amor Eterno" by Cruz Ortiz.

Three women artists also intertwine their visual stories of Texas in the gallery.

El Baker

El Baker of Austin posts her work on Instagram, and that’s where the Hossleys found her for the gallery exhibition.

Baker said her West Texas landscapes are inspired by camping trips with her husband to Big Bend. She’s eager to share those experiences with her two small children, 1 and 3 years old.

A man in a cap looks closely at a desert landscape painting.
Sally Verrando
Art by El Baker
A visitor to Lone Gallery looks closely at El Baker's painting, "Enchanted Rocks." The Austin-based artist paints scenes from her memories of West Texas travels.

She said she’s painted throughout her life and started professionally three years ago, at the beginning of the pandemic. “So, when the 3-year-old was napping, that’s when I was painting.”

Layla Luna

Layla Luna, based in Fort Worth, explores nature, home and storytelling with her landscape paintings and illustrations. She said she credits her daughter for rekindling her own inner child and the joy of being an artist. Besides painting, Luna has also written children’s books.

Luna’s love of the desert “made me believe that certain places and objects hold hauntedness within them,” according to her website.

Landscape paintings on 4-inch x 4-inch blocks, hanging on the wall.
Sally Verrando
Art by Layla Luna
Layla Luna, a Fort Worth artist, paints landscapes mounted on 4x4-inch blocks. Left to right are "Alone," "The Space Between the Leaves" and "Where Fog and Grass Meet."

Leslie Cottrill

This is Leslie Cottrill's first time exhibiting in Dallas. She met the Hossleys in Marfa, where Erin bought one of her pieces.

She's the only artist at Lone Gallery using a different medium—hand-sewn chain-stitched embroidery. The Austin artist said she learned it about 25 years ago when she was a girl. She picked up the craft again eight years ago because a very expensive vintage embroidered jacket caught her eye.

“I thought to myself, I wonder if I still know how to do that,” she said. She was at her day job, so she practiced with a needle and thread on a piece of paper.

A man with gray hair and glasses, a woman in a hat and a woman with long hair look at a collection of chain-stitched embroidery hanging on a wall.
Sally Verrando
Art by Leslie Cottrill
Guests view Leslie Cottrill's collection of hand-sewn chain-stitched embroidery at Lone Gallery's debut exhibition.

Now, she designs chain-stitched patches, as well as wall and wearable art, on all kinds of fabrics—antique, vintage, denim and other unique choices.

“The white fabric,” she said, pointing to the wall, "my fiancé found it on the side of the road.”

The Hossleys are already planning Lone Gallery's next exhibition, featuring the work of Tom Jean Webb, a Southwest landscape artist from Austin, opening May 13, 5-8 p.m. Live music will be provided by Denton country singer and family friend Isaac Hoskins, who has been featured on the TV show "Yellowstone."

J.P. said the gallery’s partition walls are moveable and can be painted to complement an artist’s color palette. Ortiz collaborated on the color of the walls for his exhibit.

“Different colors for different artists,” J.P. said. “Different bands and different music to really bring out the spirit of what the artist is trying to convey.”

Artist Cruz Ortiz paints a large canvas in his studio.
Celeste Elena
San Antonio artist Cruz Ortiz paints with oils on one of his large canvases in his studio. His works are a peek into "the supergalactic garden where death intertwines with the living and dreams formulate infinite realities," according to his artist statement.

On April 21, the closing event of “Danza de los Cosmicos” features an artist talk by Ortiz at 5 p.m. and a screening of the documentary “Sons of Mezcal" at 6:30 pm. A mezcal tasting, along with tacos and burritos, are provided by Las Almas Rotas. And, of course, there's music.

The Hossleys and Ortiz will multitask, creating the VIP space for theDallas Art Fair, J.P. said. The event happens April 20-23 in the downtown Dallas Arts District.

Lone Gallery, 2532 Converse St. in the Dallas Design District is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

  • April 21, 5 p.m.—“Danza de los Cosmicos” closing event includes an artist talk with Cruz Ortiz, a screening of the documentary "Sons of Mezcal," a mezcal tasting, tacos and burritos
  • Through April 29—Ortiz's exhibit “Danza de los Cosmicos” in the main gallery
  • May 13, 5-8 p.m.—exhibition opening with art by Tom Jean Webb and live music by Isaac Hoskins
Senior in journalism at TCU, intern with KERA's Art&Seek