Looking ahead to the watercolor exhibit

     (NWPR-OH) – The Wassenberg Art Center’s exhibit, “The Art of Fiber,” ended last Friday. As these story-backed quilts and rugs come down to make way for the traveling Ohio Watercolor Society (OWS) exhibit, we are reminded how family and memories can be wound intricately within and how that can complete the artwork itself. Art from the heart is often the most satisfying to undertake and the Art of Fiber is a prime example of love within art.

Hope Wallace

     We thank 1st Federal Savings & Loan and Stephanie Dawn for their generous support of “The Art of Fiber.” 

     The Ohio Watercolor Society touring show opens Sunday, March 6 and runs through March 27.  As always, admission is free.  Exhibit hours are 1-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays).  We are grateful to Central Mutual Insurance and Purmort Brothers Insurance Agency for their sponsorship of the OWS exhibit.

     Looking forward with excitement to the arrival of fine watercolor works from all over the state of Ohio, I’m reminded of an Ohio born watercolorist, Charles Burchfield. I was fortunate to study Burchfield on an independent study trip during college and became further intrigued and inspired by his work. Living out of my packed Honda and armed with a picnic basket, cooler and cameras I traveled through northern Ohio and up through New York state visiting museums featuring American artists.

     I was able to see many original works by a somewhat unknown Burchfield. I also learned one might want to ask permission prior to snapping photos willy-nilly of works of art! His unique approach and almost fantastic style exhibits a profound respect for nature and scenes of building and homes with occasional anthropomorphic twists. His depictions of American scenes were often rendered with vibrating, kinetic color and hauntingly familiar imagery. Charles Burchfield was born in Ashtabula Ohio and graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1916. He later moved to Buffalo, New York after becoming engaged in 1921. He enjoyed a long and prolific career, which included commercial design such as wallpaper patterns and textiles.

     Burchfield stated, “As an artist, as being in a nondescript swamp, alone, up to my knees in mire painting the vital beauty I see there in my own way, not caring a damn about tradition or anyone’s opinion.”

     This to me is what the self-expression of art is all about and I admire Burchfield’s direct approach. The largest collection of Burchfield’s work resides at the Burchfield Penney Art Center at the Buffalo State College in Buffalo New York. (If you ask nicely they do let you take photographs). The collections of the Burchfield Penney range in numbers up to 7500 pieces and include items from traditional works on paper to furniture and new media. I encourage anyone interested in bold visual statement and free thinking to further explore this enigmatic artist’s work.

     The Wassenberg Art Center is located at 643 South Washington Street, Van Wert, Ohio.  Contact us at 419.238.6837 or e-mail wassenberg@embarqmail.  Visit the website at www.vanwert.com/wassenberg  for information about upcoming classes and exhibits.

Published by on March 2011. Filed under Archives, Back Porch Section, Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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