Sunday, September 25, 2011
Arts & Extras: Hollins exhibition honors 2 longtime artist-educators
Arts & Extras column
Mike Allen, arts columnist
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The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University will open new exhibitions Thursday by two regional artists who share a lot in common.
Troutville painter Bill White and Radford artist Jan Knipe have both spent years exploring the depiction of landscapes and what they show about how people perceive the world they live in. In fact, an observation Knipe once made about White's approach to still life painting caused him to change direction and focus on landscape instead.
Both are retired Hollins University faculty members. White taught art at the school for 39 years, retiring last year as head of the art department. Knipe joined the faculty in 1987 and retired in 2009.
Both have earned national recognition for their works, and both have been involved over the decades in helping to shape the regional art scene. Many of their students have gone on to become recognized artists in their own right, said Wilson Museum Executive Director Amy Moorefield.
White mixes his own paints, and Knipe makes her own pastels.
The pair of shows honors White's and Knipe's accomplishments with Hollins and gives students a chance to look at two distinct approaches to painting from life, Moorefield said. Both exhibits heavily feature recent works with a sampling of earlier works included for context.
Originally from Los Angeles, Knipe, 67, came to the region when her husband, Jim, joined the faculty at Radford University. The next year, she started teaching at Hollins. Her artistic focus, then as now, was, "How do we understand our culture through the landscape?"
She prefers to draw using unconventional viewpoints, and the way lighting alters the view. "Light changes landscapes," she said.
She's begun experimenting with abstract images, in part because, "I just felt like I needed a break from standing and observing." The show at the Wilson Museum contains examples of both approaches, and some experiments that blend them.
"I'm in love with all forms of the history of art," Knipe said. "I think that's evident when you look at the show."
White, 66, said most of his career has involved painting interiors and still lifes. He credited Knipe with steering him toward landscape. Observing the way he had set about creating more and more complicated still life arrangements with folds of cloth, scattering of objects and dramatic lighting, she told him, "You know, you're really trying to make these still lifes into landscapes."
His show, "Empathy and Engagement," includes paintings made looking down on the rooftops of downtown Roanoke from high vantage points, including the balcony of the Taubman Museum of Art. There's also a painting of the Paris cityscape done using a similar approach while White and his wife, Linda, stayed near the Seine River during a residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts.
He said his paintings, while representing scenes from life, incorporate abstract qualities in the way they use color and form to emphasize the underlying composition, bridging the approaches.
"The ambition of artists should be beyond just making a pretty picture," White said, citing as inspirations American painters including Fairfield Porter and Gretna Campbell, who worked from life but whose art wasn't intended to be photorealistic.
Knipe said the approach to art she espoused to her students could be summed as "looking at history, being fully immersed in your own personal vision, and trying to make the most original statement you can based on what you value personally."
The exhibits open with a talk at the museum at 5:30 p.m. Thursday by New York-based art historian Jennifer Samet, with a reception following.
Knipe will speak about her work at 6 p.m. Nov. 10, and White will give a lecture at 6 p.m. Dec. 1.
Both shows will remain on display until Dec. 10. Admission is free. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 362-6532 or visit hollins.edu/museum/.
The Taubman Museum of Art resumes its "Conversations" series of lectures Oct. 1 with "Roanoke: Narrative and History." The program features two authors whose books have been rooted in regional history. Rand Dotson, a Roanoke native who works as an editor for Louisiana State University Press, is author of "Roanoke, Virginia, 1882--1912: Magic City of the New South," and Roanoke Times staff writer Ralph Berrier Jr. is author of "If Trouble Don't Kill Me," a personal story about the lives of his grandfather and great uncle, twins who were bluegrass musicians.
The other lectures in the series are:
Nov. 12, "Making the Large World Small," a discussion of the experience of moving between cultures, with Rhode Island photographer Annu Palakunnathu Matthew and New Hampshire novelist Brinda Charry, moderated by Roanoke College English professor Srikanth Mallavarapu.
Dec. 10, "Making Others Live," a look at the Freedom Rides, a key event in the civil rights struggle, 50 years later, with Roanoke native, playwright and actor Mike Wiley and Eric Etheridge, author of "Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders."
All showings begin 7:30 p.m. Admission $10, members $5. For more information, call 342-5760 or visit taubmanmuseum.org.
Attic Productions in Botetourt County is holding auditions for its Christmas show, "A Christmas Cactus."
The auditions take place at 10 a.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Oct. 2 in the D. Geraldine Lawson Performing Arts Center at 7490 Roanoke Road in Fincastle. The show requires a cast of four men and two women.
For further information, email director Phil Boyd at email@example.com.
2nd Helpings at 1502 Williamson Road in Roanoke has opened "The Table Top Gallery," in which artists from the region have painted designs on the garden patio table tops. The contributing artists are Midge Ovenshire, Mark Goodbar, Kenneth Stockton, Patti Neal, Judith Damon, Carrie McNutt, Linda Bostic Smith, Kyle Edgell, Leah Thompson, Sue Furrow and Mary Anne Meador. In addition, the gallery has debuted a new wall mural of the Blue Ridge Mountains painted by Stockton. For more information, call 491-9405 or visit 2ndhelpings.org.
The featured artists in the Market Gallery at the corner of Wall Street and Salem Avenue across from the Roanoke City Market Building are Brett LaGue and Roberta McGuire. Their shows will be on display through Oct. 8. A meet-the-artists reception will be held 5-9 p.m. Oct. 7 during Roanoke's Art by Night downtown gallery tour. For more information, call 342-1177 or visitmarketgalleryroanoke.com.
The LinDor Arts gallery at 304 First Street S.W. in downtown Roanoke will host a show by Rod Marshall-Roth of Charlottesville through October. Marshall-Roth paints pastel and watercolor landscapes. For more information, call 400-8442.
On the Arts blog
Pianist Cara Ellen Modisett and soprano Judith Cline will perform at a free recital 7:30 p.m. Monday at St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church in Roanoke. For more details and other arts news, visit http://blogs.roanoke.com