Doris Vlasek Hails, of Woodburn and Westcott Contemporary Fine Art, passed away Nov. 17. A Bohemian born in Chicago, she opened her gallery in the Murphy Building because Virginia Avenue reminded her of her childhood neighborhood. She trained at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago "at a time when professors taught the pictorial space of the Old Masters, before the era of marketing and artspeak," she wrote in a letter to me.
She exhibited in Paris, France, had her first solo show at age 40 in Chicago and learned she could schmooze in a checkout lane at Marsh in the mid-'80s just after moving to Indianapolis. She authored art critiques and a farcical advice column, "Miss Advise," for a local paper, taught at Herron in the early '90s and painted compulsively her entire adult life, sometimes 12 hours a day for months on end.
In March of 1993 Doris lost her ego and, having been raised an atheist, found (or was found by) God through her TV on a Wednesday evening, for which her gratitude was immense. She enjoyed trees, animals (especially her cats), morning skies, seasons, opera and dispensing advice and encouragement to artists. She considered marrying Stanley Woodburn Hails one of her best decisions and believed that her purpose in life was to make art. Love and relationships were among the most important things she believed any of us could acquire on this planet.
In lieu of a wake, a retrospective of her artworks will take place at Woodburn and Westcott, located at 1043 Virginia Ave., Friday, Dec. 3, beginning at 5 p.m. 916-6062.