Great Plains Art Collection

(formerly Center for Great Plains Studies Art Collection)

University of Nebrasks, Lincoln, NE



Spacious Skies Pastoral Places

June 8 - September 4, 2001


Artists have been portraying the big skies and open spaces of the Great Plains for more than one hundred and fifty years. Spacious Skies Pastoral Places, which opened June 8, 2001 at the Great Plains Art Collection features the collection's finest examples of Plains landscapes. Visitors will be treated to an ice cream social on Saturday, June 23rd from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and at 2:30 p.m. an artist walk with Keith Jacobshagen. The exhibit will also feature family looking exercises and activities. The exhibition runs through September 4, 2001. (left: Keith Jacobshagen, Havelock Elevator, Evening of Ash Wednesday, 1993, oil on canvas, Gift of the Friends of the Center for Great Plains Studies and Dr. Leon McGoogan, Great Plains Art Collection, University of Nebraska-Lincoln., © Copyright, Great Plains Art Collection)

"That was a period of time in which I was doing a lot of work in the elevators . . . and I loved that . . . the business of the elevator sort of being a kind of beacon of human habitation. . . . And I painted that elevator. . . . I probably have painted it twenty-five to thirty times. I'm interested in repetition. One learns through repetition each time you repeat something you're actually changing it.There's a never-ending supply of ideas and energy out here. It changes every second . . . every minute. I continually come back to the land and I continually come back to the whole business of living in an agrarian society. . . . It's something that's extremely important to me." - Keith Jacobshagen
Quotation by Keith Jacobshagen from "The Picture Show," StateWide Interactive Arts/Life, March 1998. Courtesy of Nebraska ETV. [Retrieved May 3, 2001, from]

The vast open spaces of prairie were not always viewed with appreciation. Frightened by its openness, early settlers on the plains looked for ways to break up the expansiveness of the land. The development of towns can be seen in early artists' works such as Council Bluff, Iowa of 1857 by James Wells Champney. While some artists choose to ignore man-made elements, contemporary artists Keith Jacobshagen and Tim Klunder consider architecture such as grain elevators important icons of the rural scene.

Today space is a commodity. We seek out and admire the few large open expanses left. Changes in color and lighting, seasons and weather provide a challenge and a beauty worthy of portrayal and appreciated by viewers.

The exhibition will include early landscapes by artists such as Gutzon Borglum as well as contemporary paintings by Hal Holoun, Keith Jacobshagen, Anne Burkholder, and photographs by Michael Forsberg, Terry Evans and more. The artists' approach to land varies widely and the stories being told are many. The beauty of the Great Plains continues to be a compelling source of inspiration for the landscape artist.

Read more about the Great Plains Art Collection in Resource Library Magazine

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 5/28/11

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