Humans of San Marcos: Dahlia Woods

By Sarah Bey
Blog Content Contributor

Dahlia Woods stands in her art gallery. Photo by Sarah Bey.
Dahlia Woods stands in her art gallery. Photo by Sarah Bey.

Dahlia Woods is the owner and curator of Dahlia Woods Gallery on North LBJ Drive. Woods curated her first gallery 17 years ago in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and her husband, Jonathan Woods, is a crime fiction writer and also has a section of the gallery dedicated to the “Bad Boy Books.” We talked about Woods’ journey as an artist and her particular style.

Bey: So I understand you came from Dallas. Why did you decide to move down to San Marcos?

Woods: The art market just died in 2011. So, we decided to go to Key West for my husband, who is a crime fiction writer. We were in Key West for a few years, but I missed my children too much because they’re here in Texas. So we came back and we were not going to go back to Dallas because it’s very high-energy, traffic – just density. We were looking for something a little bit calmer and we were looking for something that was affiliated with a university so San Marcos popped up. We first looked in Austin and then we came down to San Marcos. It seemed like a very good fit because we could have an art gallery and have a book store. So, it turns out we’re the first art gallery of San Marcos as far as a formal, traditional art space.

B: How did you start curating art?

W: In Dallas, I met several Texas artists who were interested in participating. So, I had a small space (for an) art studio behind my house in Lakewood. Then, we moved downtown and bought a building and the first floor was the gallery and we lived on the top three floors. We had fabulous views of downtown Dallas. I carried 12 Texas artists and it was on the edge of Deep Ellum in Dallas. It turned out to be a very successful endeavor and I had a great time doing it. We just liked to show Texas talent and there is a plethora of Texas talent. I’m very drawn to “Texas Big Sky” because I’m a painter as well. I feel like Texas always get short shrift as far as the arts are concerned. I wanted to do something beneficial for the artists to encourage their careers and their goals.

B: Do you have any formal education in curating art?

W: I’ve got a few Masters here and there. One of my Masters is in fine arts and teaching, another is in the history of architecture and another in languages. I speak several languages. When I was younger, in university, I worked in a gallery so I got a very good foundation on how to install art and look for the best artists here and to discover.

B: For you, what makes art click?

W: It’s a combination of many factors. It’s vision. It’s the medium. It’s the expression. It’s the attention to detail and how emotionally invested the artists are in their work. You can sense that when you look at their work and they are sincere and dedicated to what they do; that comes through. Those are the kind of people I’m looking for.

Artwork by Dahlia Woods. Photo by Sarah Bey.
Artwork by Dahlia Woods. Photo by Sarah Bey.

B: You said you like “Texas Big Sky” paintings. What is your particular style?

W: I’m a fauvist. Fauvists tend to look at a painting through color. So, instead of having a linear-graphic representation of a building or a landscape or any kind of object, you express the painting through color. The color is first and then the linear is secondary. I just like the intensity and the energy of the color. The clients really respond to it because they’re uplifting, positive and always an opportunity for hope and peace.

B: Could you tell me a little bit more about the book section of the gallery?

W: “Bad Boy Books” is run by my husband, Jonathan Woods, who is an acclaimed crime fiction writer. He’s written four books, several short story collections and one novel. There’s another novel coming out in October and we’ll have the launch here at the gallery. One of his short stories was turned into a movie and has gone into many independent film festivals. He was in Cannes last year. He also represents Texas State writers. He says, “There are no bad books here.Only gripping, edge-of-your-seat tales of boys and girls behaving badly.” But always with a tinge of humor.

B: What are some of your favorite things to do in San Marcos?

W: The river. I love the river! It’s a very special, exciting opportunity.

Woods was preparing for an event that night and ended with a few words.

W: We have worked very hard to get to this place. This was a very dark, dark, dirty, black cave and I worked for several months to transform it into an attractive art space where all the art can be easily seen. It’s been a labor of love but, I feel like we are in the right direction in supporting our artists and our community.

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