“The Worlds Within: Paintings, Drawings & Prints” by Jack Delaney is on exhibit in the Anne Dean Turk Fine Arts Gallery on the Kilgore College campus.

Gallery Director Larry Kitchen said the exhibit is free to the public and will be up until mid-October.

“The paintings are surrealistic, in other words, above reality,” Kitchen said. “They have sort of an ironic flavor elevated from reality. I would say they are similar to a Salvador Dali (Spanish surrealist artist) type of influence.”

This is Delaney’s first showing at the gallery on the Kilgore College campus.

“I’ve been here (Tyler) for a few years, and I’m trying to get into the East Texas art scene,” said Delaney, who is from Houston.

“He’s quite a special artist,” Kitchen said.

Delaney’s work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions across the U.S. His solo exhibitions include “Memory and Mythos” at the Marshall Visual Art Center in Marshall and “Mythopictura” at Third Space Gallery in Houston. His recent juried exhibitions include Rosenzweig 2019 Juried Exhibition at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and BAMSA Biannual Art Show at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston.

Delaney is working on his master’s degree in fine arts at the University of Houston. His wife, Kaia Magnusen, is an art history professor at UT Tyler.

Delaney said mythology is the main inspiration for his work.

“I’m inspired by myths and combining those with my own personal experience, my own history,” he said. “So, the main influence is just a combination of old myths with contemporary experiences today.”

Delaney’s love of surrealism and movies is shown in his work.

“I’m inspired by films, particularly fantasy or science fiction. It kind of gets a bad rap in the higher up art world, but I embrace the campiness a little bit because I just want to have fun with it,” he said. “I love the old Renaissance masters as well. I’m really inspired by their time-honored traditions and techniques.”

In describing his work, Delaney said whimsical comes to mind.

“Whimsical is the word I would use to describe my work. I’ve got different genres that I’m focused in. I’ll do these big mythological paintings but then I’ll also do portraits or still life and landscape,” he said. “Those are a little bit quieter or more innocent paintings to me.”

When it comes to picking a favorite among his work, Delaney said it’s not easy and it depends on when he’s asked. As of now, his favorite is the one he refers to as “World’s Strongest Man.”

“It took me a long time (to finish). I work pretty slow and that painting is a very bizarre painting,” he said. “It went through a lot of different versions but finally arrived at the way it looks now.”

Kitchen said Delaney is part of the art family in East Texas and his exhibit helps in the educational mission to show students and the public the value of having an art gallery in town.

“Shows like this will expose people to contemporary art,” Kitchen said.