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Painted Poetry: The Art of Mary Page Evans

March 31 - July 15, 2012


The Delaware Art Museum is pleased to present Painted Poetry: The Art of Mary Page Evans, a retrospective exhibition featuring approximately 50 paintings and drawings created by the artist between the 1960s and 2011. On view March 31 through July 15, 2012, this exhibition highlights Evans' vibrant depictions of nature and the human form while celebrating the artist's distinguished career. (right: Mary Page Evans (born 1937), Life Tree, 1990s-2010, Oil on canvas, 67 x 55 inches. Collection of the artist)

To accompany the exhibition, the Delaware Art Museum produced a richly illustrated catalogue with an artist interview and an essay by Philadelphia painter Bill Scott. The book also highlights a selection of poems that have inspired Mary Page Evans, as well as works inspired by her pictures. Featured poets include Howard Nemerov, Billy Collins, Moira Linehan, Adrianne Marcus, Elizabeth Seydel Morgan, and Susan Jackson. This hardback volume, published by the Delaware Art Museum and Hudson Hills Press, is available at the Museum Store.


About the exhibition

Mary Page Evans works directly from nature, seeking to capture a specific landscape, figure, tree, or sky. Her vibrant paintings and drawings evoke particular places -- gardens in Delaware and France, a mountain in the Shenandoah Valley, the Florida coast -- sites she returns to again and again, chronicling them in different moods and seasons. Displaying work made over more than 40 years, Painted Poetry is organized thematically to highlight Evans' longstanding interests: landscapes, gardens, figures, trees, seas, and skies.

Evans' expressive use of color and line evokes the spontaneity of movement and light found in the natural world. Not surprisingly, her influences include the French impressionists and post-impressionists, as well as the abstract expressionists. She has worked at Giverny, Claude Monet's garden, and names Cézanne as a particular inspiration. Her artist-friends include contemporary painters Grace Hartigan and Joan Mitchell.

Evans describes herself as a "museum person" and loves to discuss how specific artists and exhibitions have influenced her work. Yet she has developed a style all her own. As painter Bill Scott has noted, "In Evans' work there is always a balance between the representational and the abstract as well as between impulsive and meditative applications of paint to her canvas. She camouflages the numerous decisions and immense effort required to make her works look so effortless." The artist's use of vibrant color and energetic drawing prompted painter Gene Davis, a friend of Evans, to describe her pictures as "hymns of unadulterated joy." (left: Mary Page Evans (born 1937), Twilight, 2010, Oil on canvas, 50 1/2 x 43 inches. Collection of Olwen and Don Pongrace)

Evans is also influenced by other disciplines -- music, dance, and writing. This exhibition pairs Evans' paintings with the words that inspire her, from the musings of Paul Cézanne to the contemporary poems of Billy Collins and Susan Jackson. The exhibition programming, which includes a classical music concert and poetry readings, will highlight the interdisciplinary cross-pollination that the artist seeks. To borrow Scott's eloquent description of her career, "Her journey as an artist can be traced by seeing how she successfully finds and reinvents the inspiration that propels her to paint."


About the artist

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Mary Page Evans graduated with a degree in music from Hollins University in Roanoke. After college she studied at the Art Students League in New York and the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. She has lived in Delaware for nearly 50 years, since her marriage to former Delaware Congressman Tom Evans. After moving to Wilmington, she took classes at the Delaware Art Museum and with artists Ed Loper and Tom Bostelle. Starting in the 1970s, Evans has been honored with many solo exhibitions, especially in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. She is represented by Carspecken-Scott in Wilmington, Delaware, and Addison/Ripley Fine Art in Washington, D.C. Her paintings and drawings are in public, private, and corporate collections, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Delaware Art Museum, and the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University.


Future exhibition-related programs & events

Meet the Artist: Mary Page Evans

Saturdays, March 31, May 19, & June 16 | 11:00 a.m. | Free with Museum admission

Join Wilmington-based artist Mary Page Evans as she discusses her retrospective exhibition Painted Poetry: The Art of Mary Page Evans, and her experiences, inspirations, and influences.


Documentary Screening: Mary Page Evans: Force of Nature

Sundays, April 22, June 3, & July 15 | Ongoing throughout the day | Free

Mary Page Evans: Force of Nature provides a glimpse into the life and work of one of Delaware's most beloved artists and citizen activists, Mary Page Evans. This 30-minute documentary captures her love of nature, light, and color. Produced over several years by Sharon Baker and Teleduction, this insightful documentary features lively interviews with the artist and illuminating visits to the sites that have inspired her.


Sunday Studio Series: Plein Air Landscapes

Sunday, April 29 | 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. | ages 3 and up | Fee

Drop-in to the Delaware Art Museum anytime from 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. on the last Sunday of each month and participate in the Museum's Sunday Studio Series. Children and their families can experience an activity that explores a new medium or technique each month -- no reservations required! Cash or check only. Project time averages 45 minutes. Children must be accompanied by an adult.


Mary Page Evans Poetry Reading

Wednesday, May 9 | 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. | Free with Museum admission

Join Mary Page Evans as she introduces her retrospective exhibition Painted Poetry: The Art of Mary Page Evans. Poets Barbara Crooker and Elizabeth Seydel Morgan will read personal works of poetry. Program planned by The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.


Open Figure Drawing Workshop with Mary Page Evans

Monday, May 14 | 6:30 p.m. ­ 8:30 p.m. | Fee

Working directly from live models, Mary Page Evans will teach participants fundamental observation and drawing skills that concentrate on human form and gesture. Open discussions and critiques will take place during the workshop. Cash or check only. Online reservations are strongly recommended. Register at delart.org.


Mary Page Evans Poetry Reading

Saturday, June 16 | 1:00 p.m. | Free with Museum admission

Hear Delaware poets read poems inspired by works in the exhibition Painted Poetry: The Art of Mary Page Evans. Guest poets include JoAnn Balingit (Poet Laureate of Delaware), Josiah Bancroft, Russell Endo, and Abby Millager.


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