Artist Devon Nowlin’s “Don’t Deny Your Heart”

Artist Devon Nowlin’s “Don’t Deny Your Heart” is among the works included in her exhibition at SFA that opens with a reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, in Griffith Gallery on the SFA campus.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Art will open the exhibition “Devon Nowlin: Don’t Deny Your Heart” with a reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, in Griffith Gallery on the SFA campus.

The show, which runs Oct. 20 through Dec. 9, features paintings and altered digital prints. Nowlin’s work reflects a personal and market-driven desire to, in her own words, “curate environments and personas that aspire for a lifestyle of casual luxury,” according to John Handley, director of galleries at SFA.

“The intersection between art and commerce is an important aspect of her work, where she is interested in drawing parallels between today’s art industry and the world of marketing, personal image and cultural attainment,” he said.

Handley describes Nowlin as an up-and-coming artist who lives in Fort Worth. Primarily known for her figurative paintings, she also explores relationships of figures, forms and concepts through works in diverse media.

“Her depictions of the human form rival that of the old masters – reminiscent of artists like Botticelli in his treatment of the female form – sensitive, somewhat mystical, and placed within a lush and verdant landscape,” Handley said.

According to Anthony Mariani, editor for Fort Worth Weekly who covered her recent exhibition, “Casual Luxury Complex,” “The star (of the show) has to be Frank, a small black-and-white-checkered dog sculpture of polymer clay that ‘went missing’ in late March during a group show at Artspace 111. (He has since been returned.) The lovable pooch pops up in several ‘Casual Luxury Complex’ pieces, including the spellbinding ‘Don’t Deny Your Heart,’ a sprawling oil on canvas that harks to the Devon Nowlin we all know and love, the precise photorealist who specializes in the human figure.”

In the 60-by-80-inch piece, a young blonde wearing a white top with spaghetti straps is shown in profile cradling Frank in a lush forest dripping with eerie greens and aquamarines.

“Here, material and carnal desires get all mixed up, splendidly,” Mariani wrote. “You’ve never seen a painting like this.”

Nowlin’s recent exhibitions include “co action” in collaboration with Margaret Meehan at 500X in Dallas, “Relationship Status” at Craighead Green Gallery in Dallas, and “Go Figure” at Artspace 111. Nowlin has taught at Texas Christian University, The Modern and the Rachofsky Warehouse, and she is currently the assistant registrar for the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Her large-scale mural “Trailing the Trinity,” commissioned by Fort Worth Public Art, can be viewed from the Trinity River Trails at the Clearfork Main Street Bridge. More information about the artist may be obtained at:

Nowlin will be at the reception to discuss her work, Handley said.

The Texas Commission on the Arts, SFA Friends of the Visual Arts and Nacogdoches Junior Forum are sponsors of the exhibition. Admission is free.

Gallery hours are from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. For more information, call (936) 468-1131. Griffith Fine Arts Building is located at 2222 Alumni Drive.