Past

While primarily known today as a California impressionist painter, Lockwood De Forest (1850-1932) was one of hundreds of artists who made pilgrimages to the Middle East during the 19th century.

From December 1875 through July 1876 he traveled to the Middle East to paint the beautiful and historic landscapes that he would discover there. During the course of several months, he journeyed on the Nile, then up through Palestine, into Syria, including to Palmyra, and then off to Greece on his return home. In each location he sat down with brush in hand and painted exactly what he viewed with his own eyes on small, wooden panels. It is these paintings that will be featured beginning in winter 2017 at the Huntington Museum of Art.

Born in New York City to a prominent family, he traveled to Rome at the age of eighteen to take up studies with the Italian artist Hermann David Salomon Corrodi (1844–1905). While on that trip he made the acquaintance of the famous Hudson River School painter, Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900) and upon his return to America, he worked in New York City where he exhibited regularly at the National Academy. Drawn by the moderate climate and beauty of the California coast, he began to winter in Santa Barbara in 1902 and in 1915 retired there permanently. While he would become known for his wonderfully colorful, impressionist oil sketches of California, the works from his tour of the Middle East instill a sense of piece that has eluded in the region in modern times.

What is especially interesting about his trip is De Forest’s diary observations have miraculously survived, allowing the viewer to get a better understanding of his time in the Middle East.

Early in his tour, which began in Egypt he noted while near E-Balyana The sky was of that partly cloudy, hazy kind, like so often we have at home in October, where the sunlight falls on the mountains – the color looking very much like our own after they have turned to that rich, golden orange hue.” By April of 1876 he was moving into Syria, where he commented on the Sea of Tiberias, better known today as the Sea of Galilee: “The Sea of Tiberias is by far the most picturesque place we have seen in Palestine or Syria. I should like to have stayed there a week but had to content myself with one day, and only had time to make a few hasty pencil sketches.”

But it was in May of that year that he and his retinue came to Palmyra – the famously historic city located in Syria that was so recently devastated. Following their arrival, De Forest commented on the exceptional architecture he witnessed: “We counted 350 Corinthian columns in perfect condition. They are all Corinthian, and mostly in groups from two to twenty… If you can imagine columns running off in perspective in all sorts of directions – sometimes with a distance of mountains like those in Egypt and at other times coming out from the top to base against the sky – you perhaps can form some dim idea of Palmyra.”

The exhibition at HMA will feature between 25 and 30 of these small yet extremely expressive works by De Forest, which demonstrate the rich, natural and built environment he encountered in the Middle East.

Sponsored by Drs. Joseph B. and Omayma Touma.

This exhibit is presented In Memory of Selden “Sandy” Spessard McNeer, III from the following: Ms. Carol H. Bailey; Mrs. Carolyn J. Bagby; Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan A. Broh; Campbell Woods, PLLC; Mr. and Mrs. Michael Cornfeld; Drs. William and Sarah Denman; Mrs. Betty M. Foard; Mr. John Gillispie; Ms. Billie Marie Karnes; Julienne and Selden McNeer, Jr.; and Ms. Sue D. Woods.

Presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment.

This program is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Courtyard Series: Kevin Lyles

September 1 - March 26, 2017

About the Artist

Kevin Lyles grew up in Tennessee and Texas and graduated from Abilene Christian University with a BFA in art and then Bradley University with an MFA in sculpture. After graduate school he worked for ten years in sculptural restoration repairing monuments and architectural ornamentation. For the past twenty-five years he has taught art at the University of Rio Grande where he is a full professor. His work has been shown in more than 150 international, national, and regional exhibitions and is in many permanent collections. His sculpture often mixes several media within each piece with the aim of developing a visual story for the viewer. Currently he lives in rural southeast Ohio in a timber-frame home in the woods with his family.

About the Artist’s Work

CoreFlora is a stainless steel and bronze sculpture that was specifically created for the Huntington Museum of Art. Having a vibrant museum is a luxury for a small community; having a museum that marries both art and science is really an unusual treasure. It is exceptionally uncommon to have such beautiful hiking trails, a plant conservatory, and world-class art all together. It is this combination that Lyles was interested in showing in his sculpture. The silhouettes that create the main body of the work are taken from images gathered on the walking trail. The bronze reliefs are modeled after conservatory plants. These reliefs placed within the overall shape mirror the Museum’s atrium within the architecture.

The Spanish conquest of Peru in the 16th century brought massive changes to the culture of the region. In addition to the political upheaval that took place, changes in the social and cultural fabric were immense. Backed by Spanish military might, a forced conversion of language, religion, and economic structures took place. Included among the changes was an alteration of the robust artistic tradition that had existed under the Incas and other cultures in the region.

Inca culture, especially in cities such as Cuzco and Lima, had long employed painters to decorate textiles, ceramics and wooden objects and to create murals. When the Spanish arrived, they introduced the concept of oil painting into the culture and utilized the talents of local artists to create works of art that reflected European religious and aesthetic values. Using printed images of European paintings as source material, the artists created a regional style that often included elements of Andean religion and culture within the portrayal of Christian-themed subjects. In addition to serving as suppliers to a thriving market for paintings to hang on the walls of the homes of European settlers, the artists were employed to decorate churches and government buildings in the region.

The Huntington Museum of Art has a small collection of these paintings that was a gift of Jack Neal, Sr. and Irene Caldwell Neal, and Jack Neal, Jr. and Claudia Neal in 1995. The works are primarily religious
in nature and are often embellished with the personalized style of the region through representations of native flowers and birds.

Presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment.

This program is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Brian Michael Reed was invited to explore the collection of the Huntington Museum of Art and make a selection of objects that paralleled themes expressed in his work. His picks from the HMA collection include many luminaries in the field of modern art, including Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Chuck Close, Cy Twombly, Kiki Smith, Jim Dine, Richard Tuttle, and Keith Haring. Reed’s colorful works hold their own in the gallery, and are impressive in terms of both quality and scale. The largest of the works, “Lotus Memories,” which is based on reflective time spent viewing lotus ponds in China, spans a distance of over fifty feet in length. Reed will return to the museum in 2018 for a second part of the project, when he will install his work alongside the museum’s extensive collection of paintings from Haiti.

Reed grew up in Clay County, West Virginia, as part of a family whose roots span many generations in the state. His family farm in the small town of Ivydale still serves as a home base for him, but he is equally comfortable in his New York apartment and studio, or in the bustling atmosphere of a village in China. Reed, in fact, draws his creative energy from the wide variety of cultural experiences he has absorbed, and his artwork serves as a reflection of the cornucopia of customs, folklore, religion and mythology he has encountered in his travels and studies. Universal themes of love, loss, tragedy, memory, death and the afterlife are all part of his work. Much of the emotion expressed in his paintings and sculpture comes from the vicissitudes he has experienced in his own life, such as the tragic loss of his father in an automobile accident when he was 17 and a debilitating injury in his early twenties that left him partially paralyzed and immobile for more than a year.

Following his graduation from Clay County High School, Reed enrolled at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he studied painting. While there, professors such as James Crable opened up the gates to new ways of thinking so that he began to utilize his talents to “create from my imagination” and invent works that were “more than scenes I could see in life.” In the months after his accident and paralysis, Reed passed the time by studying the cultures of distant lands, especially Inca, Aztec and West African societies. This exploration helped him identify the common threads that are found in all cultures and would lay the foundation for the themes he would explore in his later work.

After a grueling but ultimately successful rehabilitation, he moved to New York, where he worked his way into the gallery scene with his paintings and installations. The spark that had been kindled by his cultural studies not only expressed itself in his work, but it ignited a wanderlust that would take him on several extended journeys to places such as China and Mexico. He has been presented with many opportunities to exhibit his work in China, including residencies in Shanghai and Beijing.

Brian is a pictorial anthropologist; through his art, we share in the stories of a young West Virginia artist whose eyes have distilled meaningful experiences from around the globe into the art on exhibit at HMA. The stories in each collection of works contain a cross-cultural self-portrait, chronicling his quest to explore history, myth and the symbols that cultures create to understand the world and express themselves.

This exhibit is presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment.

This program is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Brian Michael Reed: A Conversation with the Huntington Museum of Art

Jim Dine’s lengthy artistic career has seen him experiment with a variety of media and processes, from painting and sculpture to performance art. One of America’s most renowned contemporary artists, he has been particularly captivated by the variety of techniques found in the printmaking field and has produced approximately 1,000 prints during the course of more than five decades.

Dine first started his study of printmaking at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he completed his undergraduate degree in 1957. Following a year of graduate study in Athens, Dine moved to New York City where he experimented with performance art and “Happenings” at a number of galleries. His paintings began to include images of everyday objects, a characteristic that inspired critics to link him with the Pop Art movement (though Dine always resented that association). His work was soon featured in leading New York galleries and museums, including Sidney Janis Gallery and the Guggenheim Museum.

Dine was introduced to master printer Tatyana Grosman of Universal Limited Art Editions in 1962 by fellow artist Jasper Johns, and this began a series of collaborations with accomplished print shops throughout the world. Recurring images began to appear in his work, including tools, brushes, hearts and robes, all of which were tied to personal memories and inspiration. Dine became engaged in a constant push against the perceived limits of printmaking, and his resulting images were astonishing in terms of scale and visual impact.

The group of prints that will be on view at HMA was a gift from the artist to the Kennedy Museum of Art at Ohio University that followed a solo exhibition of his work in Athens in 2011. Many of the works range in height from 6 to 8 feet and showcase the exceptional results that Dine and his printers achieved in the production of the prints. Mixing a variety of processes in the execution of the work, Dine’s prints are done using woodcut, etching, and lithography along with the artist’s alterations that include sawing, carving and hand coloring.

In addition to the familiar iconography of robes, hearts and skulls, a number of the prints feature the image of Pinocchio, the children’s storybook character. Dine’s fascination with Pinocchio began with a viewing of the Disney film as a child and his portrayal of the subject displays a range of expression that varies from innocuous to sinister. The magical story of Pinocchio’s transformation from a carved wooden figure to a real boy mirrors the symbolic transformations Dine sees in the work of artists, who make materials come alive in a sort of modern day alchemy.

Presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment.

This program is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

A free opening reception for this exhibit takes place on October 23, 2016, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Photographer Dorothea Lange made the observation that “the camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” Her statement may refer to the viewer, whose senses are affected by an image that has been presented by a photographer, or it may refer to the mental crafting that takes place before a photographer points and shoots.

How is this process altered, then, when the photographer cannot see? According to Sight Unseen Curator Douglas McCulloh, rather than being a hindrance, the absence of sight opens the way for a heightened expression of the artist’s unseen thoughts and ideas. “Blind photographers possess the clearest vision on the planet,” he says, noting that “their images are elaborately realized internal visualizations first, photographs second.”

Modern art has placed a great deal of value on the translation of an artist’s personalized conceptions into something tangible. Since the invention of photography, we no longer need painters to recreate nature; anyone with a cell phone or drugstore camera can produce a likeness that is faithful to the original source. The challenge for contemporary artists is to rise above mere imitation and grab the attention of the viewer by producing an image that provokes and stimulates. For the photographers in the Sight Unseen exhibition, the worlds inside their minds become accessible to others through their remarkable work. “I’m a very visual person,” says Pete Eckert, “I just can’t see.” Paris-based artist Evgen Bavcar expresses a similar thought when he says “I have a private gallery, but, unfortunately, I am the only one who can visit it. Others can enter it by means of my photographs.”

The exhibition assembles more than 100 works by a dozen photographers from all over the world. Some of them pursue a purely conceptual art from the regions of their own minds, others use sensory cues such as hearing and smell to guide their cameras or rely on pure chance. A third group, made up of artists with very limited sight, uses the camera to amplify visual images as they pursue an enhanced method of seeing. The resulting photographs are a testament to the artists’ refusal to accept limitations and to the desire of all humans to have a creative voice. The work stands firmly on its own, highly original and comparable to the best in contemporary photography.

“I can’t belong to this world if I can’t imagine it in my own way,” says Evgen Bavcar. “When a blind person says ‘I imagine,’ it means he too has an inner representation of external realities.” By opening up their world through their work, the artists in Sight Unseen invite you to share their creative ideas and at the same time challenge you to think twice about your notions of what visualization and creative expression are all about.

SIGHT UNSEEN: International Photography by Blind Artists has been curated by Douglas McCulloh and originated by UCR/California Museum of Photography, an affiliate institution of ARTSblock, the University of California, Riverside, and toured by Curatorial Assistance, Pasadena, California.

This exhibit is presented by The James H. and Alice Teubert Charitable Trust.

Sponsored by The Alcon Foundation, Inc.

Support for this program also comes from:

Robert and Christine Anderson, In Honor of Isaac and Isabel Anderson

Mrs. Carolyn H. Becker, In Loving Memory of David E. Becker

John and Jane Cross, In Memory of Joe and Eva Hamer

Krista L. Denning M.D., In Honor of Mary Ann Saunders

Krista L. Denning M.D., In Memory of Willis G. “Buck” Saunders

Rainey Duke, In Honor of David Duke

Jean Eglinton and Steven Snyder, In Memory of Sarah Snyder

Dorothy J. Fike, In Memory of Susan Fike

Frank Hanshaw, In Memory of Diane Cowden Hanshaw

Nicholas and Sharon Kontos, In Honor of Olive Smith Stone

Jeff and Andi McDowell

Mr. and Mrs. Greg Michael, In Honor of Timothy Grobe

Judy Silver, In Memory of Becky Morrison

Keith and Debbie Vass, In Honor of Fred and Peggy Legg

Betsy H. Wilson, In Memory of Elizabeth Mitchell

This program is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

A free opening reception and catalog debut for this exhibit takes place on October 2, 2016, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The art of glassmaking traces its beginnings to ancient times in the early cultures of Mesopotamia and Egypt. As the centuries passed, glassmakers became very skilled in their mastery of this fiery material, and by the time of the Roman Empire, the ability to fuse together layers of colored glass to form the walls of a vessel offered the opportunity to carve sophisticated surface designs on these objects. This type of glass, known as cameo glass, was prized for its beauty and rarity, and is epitomized by the famous Portland Vase, a Roman example that is now in the British Museum. As the modern era approached, the incredible difficulty of making the multilayered glass blanks and the labor-intensive process required to carve and etch this fragile material discouraged most manufacturers from pursuing it, and although it was revived for a period in the 19th century, the technique lay dormant for most of the 20th century.

In the early 1980s, Kelsey Murphy was working as a graphic designer and sign painter in Cincinnati, when she began to experiment with the use of sandblasting apparatus to etch flat glass. After she achieved success in the elementary phases of this technique, she delved further into the glass decorating process, and with her partner, Robert Bomkamp (a former machinist in the aerospace industry), developed the ability to do highly detailed relief carvings in glass.

Seeking to move beyond flat glass, the team sought out a supplier of glass vessels, and that led them to Pilgrim Glass Corporation in Ceredo, West Virginia. This fortuitous meeting was quickly followed by a business agreement with Pilgrim and extensive experimentation with smaller items such as Pilgrim’s line of solid glass eggs. By 1986 they had graduated to far more sophisticated work, including the creation of a stunning cameo vase that portrayed the Statue of Liberty, a gift to Lee Iacocca for his work in the iconic statue’s restoration campaign. By this time, Pilgrim was completely sold on the potential of the new line, and in 1987 Kelsey and Bob moved to West Virginia to oversee the design and production of an extensive array of cameo glass for the company. The skilled glassblowers at Pilgrim were able to move from producing blanks with two layers of glass to the rarified territory of vessels with ten layers or more.

Sadly, this partnership came to an end when market conditions forced the closure of the Pilgrim factory in 2002. Among the legacies left behind were a number of uncarved cameo blanks, many of which were
eventually acquired by Kelsey.

Through the patronage of Dr. Joseph Touma, who commissioned these pieces, Kelsey has produced a series of works from among the last of the remaining blanks that consist of five layers of glass or more. Decorated with scenes derived from nature, mythology, human figure studies and even local landmarks and townscapes, the works are stunning displays of the designers’ work as well as a tribute to the local craftsmen whose skill in blowing the vessels made it all possible. These objects join a smaller display of Pilgrim cameo pieces in the HMA Glass Gallery (gifts of Dr. Touma and his wife, Dr. Omayma Touma) to showcase the remarkably exuberant glass creations that sprang from this West Virginia-based venture.

Presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment and The Glass Club of Huntington.

This program is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

A special thanks is due to Dr. Joseph B. Touma for his funding of the exhibition catalog.

In Memory of Judy Browning Clark, with support from the following: Mrs. Carolyn J. Bagby; Ms. Carol H. Bailey; Ms. Susan C. Brandon; Central City Cafe; Ms. Katherine Cox; Mr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Craig, Jr.; Drs. William and Sarah Denman; Dr. R. Lawrence Dunworth; Ms. Anita L. Farrell; Mr. John Gillispie; Mrs. Patty Gillispie; Mr. David A. Glick; Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Hanshaw; Mr. and Mrs. Chris Hatten; Mr. and Mrs. Gregory S. Hardin; Ms. Linda Holmes and Dr. J. William Haught; Mrs. J. Churchill Hodges; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jackson; Ms. Billie Marie Karnes; Ms. Margaret L. Kruthoffer; Ms. Margaret Mary Layne; Ms. Ama F. Napier; Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Neighborgall, III; Ms. Kathleen O’Shea; Mr. and Mrs. William Riffle; Dr. and Mrs. Tully Roisman; Ms. Linda J. Sanns; and the Western Weavers Guild of the West Virginia Basketmakers Association.

Camden Park Presents Art on a Limb

November 22 - January 8, 2017

The Huntington Museum of Art offers its annual gift to the community when “Camden Park Presents Holiday Open House” on Sunday, December 4, 2016, from 1 to 4 p.m. at HMA. Admission is free, but visitors are encouraged to bring nonperishable food to benefit the Facing Hunger Foodbank and warm clothes for the Cridlin Food and Clothing Pantry.

Holiday Open House features the “Art on a Limb” exhibit of trees, which is presented by Camden Park. The exhibit, which is on view through Jan. 8, 2017, consists of trees with hand-painted palettes and ornaments created by local artists. Holiday Open House includes a visit from Santa; children’s art activities; entertainment; and refreshments.

For more information, visit www.hmoa.org or call (304) 529-2701. The Huntington Museum of Art is fully accessible.

West Virginia residents may obtain a summary of the registration and financial documents from the Secretary of State, State Capitol, Charleston, WV 25305. Registration does not imply endorsement.