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The Inner Land: Realist Paintings of Anna Marie Schnur

 

The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Loretto is pleased to announce the opening of The Inner Land: Realist Paintings of Anna Marie Schnur. The exhibition, on view September 12 through November 23, 2003, features 25 works on large canvas by Schnur, who resides in Somerset and Pittsburgh.

The exhibition celebrates the thought-provoking work of a distinguished Pennsylvania artist. The works in this exhibition span two decades of the artist's career, and demonstrate sustained, focused contemplation, a clear mastery of technique and unwavering strength and discipline, said SAMA. Fine Arts Curator Dr. Graziella Marchicelli. "Schnur's large-scale canvases evoke the visionary puzzles of dreams by means of exquisite realism. Her images are simultaneously lucid and cryptic, transparent and mysterious," she said. "Her ability to consistently render this tension is the result of years of dedication to her craft, which we see as precise draftsmanship, a refined application of color, and a skillful and creative sense of composition." (right: painting by Anna Marie Schnur from the exhibit The Inner Land: Realist Paintings of Anna Marie Schnur)

Schnur was born in West Mifflin in 1930. She lost her mother at the age of 5 and was sent to Homestead to live with her two maternal aunts. She showed an interest in art at an early age, and befriended a family friend and artist who taught her oil painting techniques. In 1952, she received a B.S. in art education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She went on to establish a career as an elementary school art teacher, though her love for painting never wavered. During this time, she entered graduate school at The Pennsylvania State University, and received a Master's of Fine Arts degree from the University in 1960.

During a sabbatical in the early '60s, Schnur traveled to the Albright-Knox Art Museum in Buffalo, N.Y., where she became familiar with the works of Andrew Wyeth. Wyeth's works made a strong impression on her, and for the next 18 years, she painted landscapes in the Brandywine School tradition. In 1972, Schnur left teaching to pursue art full-time. During the late 1970s, Schnur began to move away from landscapes and toward figuration. It was during this time that she also began to work on large canvases. Although she has maintained her meticulous, realistic style, Schnur's work over the last 20-plus years has contained scenes more influenced by the Surrealist school.

Schnur enjoyed commercial success early in her career, but since changing her approach in the '70s and '80s, she has won eight juried awards from the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh exhibitions, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Ambassador Award, and the Lee Atkyns Memorial Award for Artistic Distinction, among others. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally, and her paintings are highly sought after by private collectors in the United States and Europe.

"Schnur's subject matter comes from the common, everyday stuff of life, but that subject matter is often arranged in ways that arouse unease," said Marchicelli. "Her style is both a commitment to clarity, like that of American painters Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth, and an abiding and unflinching trust in life's inherent mysteries, like that of Surrealist painters Rene Magritte and Paul Delvaux. She has accomplished a body of work that is made cohesive and distinct not by her skilled brushwork alone, but by her supervising outlook, her persistent attitude or sensibility that is an acceptance of the impenetrability of things."

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