Ted Kincaid Profiled in Houston Magazine – January 2013

Other Nature
Dallas-based Houston favorite Ted Kincaid returns with a bold new show that’s part landscape, part escape.

By Dan Oko | Photography by Stephen Karlisch

Dallas-based artist Ted Kincaid, who creates ethereally beautiful, landscape-recalling photographic-type images, has two passions- nature and history- and his work rarely diverts from those themes. Ships disappear into storms, listing in the waves; vibrant clouds display otherworldly hues; tree branches form impossible webs, veiling the forest.

This month, the artist returns to the Devin Borden Gallery (3917 Main St., 713.529.2700) with Earth, Sea, Sky – a follow-up to his successful show at the gallery last year, which draws from recent photographs, some of which Kincaid refers to as “digital paintings.” Kincaid is a technological fabulist, who digitally manipulates images to make, in his words, “fake photographs that look real and real photographs that look fake.” The shrouded ships in his pictures never existed, and though the bright clouds really did, they’ve been warped and colored in ways you’d never see in real life. “The trajectory of my work for the last 20 years has been questioning the veracity of photography,” explains Kincaid, 46. “Photography is not an objective recorder of reality. Everybody manipulates.”

From an early age, Kincaid wanted to be an artist. He studied at Texas Tech and the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Although he has a touch of gray, Kincaid possesses a youthful countenance and an athlete’s build. Besides his art career, he’s the chair of the fine arts department at Plano West High School near Dallas, where he teaches. He lives with his longtime partner Steve Atkinson, a real-estate agent and veteran human rights activist.

Gracious to a point, Kincaid has little patience for critics who want to pigeonhole his work or focus on the technical questions it raises. “In the art world, there is such a need to classify something as part of a movement,” he says. “But l don’t have to be such a purist. If you appreciate an image as a beautiful landscape photograph, that’s fine with me.”

Appreciation is something Kincaid knows well. His last Houston show at Devin Borden sold out. DFW International commissioned a 22-foot glass mosaic of concentric orbs for the departure concourse a few years back. Neiman Marcus has acquired more than 50 of his pieces as part of its highly regarded corporate art collection, displayed in Dallas at the retailer’s national headquarters, and in stores nationwide. Kincaid has also been twice asked to design the cover of Neiman Marcus’ large format catalogue The Book.

Yet, for all his success in reinterpreting the natural world, he says there’s no substitute for simply being in it. Kincaid is an avid hiker, but you won’t find him on the trail with his camera. “Before photography, we didn’t think about looking at things in a rectangle,” he says. “When you are in wild nature, your photograph cannot capture the grandeur of being there.”