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Chas Fagan: Sketching a Path

 

The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley's latest exhibition welcomes home one of the Ligonier area's greatest artistic talents. On display through August 13, 2006 is Chas Fagan: Sketching a Path. The exhibition includes more than 70 works by Fagan, a Ligonier native who has forged an impressive career as a painter and sculptor. The exhibition will feature Fagan's landscape, still life and portrait paintings, sculptural maquettes and bronzes, and photographs documenting his artistic process. (right: Chas Fagan, Pasture Peace, 2006, oil on canvas, 12 x 6 inches)

Fagan has gained national prominence and recognition as an accomplished portraitist, sculptor and painter. His portraits display a classic, layering technique and exhibit an extraordinary likeness of the subject, all the while managing to reveal each subject's unique personality. This talent has earned the artist accolades as a highly sought-after portrait painter, including a commission to paint a complete set of Presidential portraits for C-SPAN's 2001 Peabody Award-winning program, "American Presidents." He also recently completed a life-size portrait of former First Lady, Barbara Bush, which hangs in the ground floor corridor of the White House.

Former President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Bush were impressed with Fagan's artistic prowess, saying "Chas Fagan is one of the most gifted individuals we have known. There is an inspired integrity in the way he approaches his crafts in each medium, and given his age it is only a question of time before he takes his rightful place as one of America's leading artists. Count us as two of his most appreciative admirers."

Fagan's landscape and still life paintings are rendered in classic, yet energetic brushstrokes, celebrating the nuance of detail against a backdrop of vivid color. His works boast dramatic mood and color, and vary from intimate scenes to sweeping vistas, often including pastoral settings from his native Pennsylvania.

Sculpture is a more recent medium for the artist, though certainly one in which he has seen great success. In one of the highlights of his career, Fagan was chosen to create an eight-foot bronze sculpture of former President Bush for Houston's Sesquicentennial Park. The statue, with two accompanying eagles, is the centerpiece of a monument to the former president. His design for the monument and plaza places the statue facing the city's skyline, to emphasize the president's significance to the city. The eagles, symbolic of the presidency, flank the backdrop. The monument was dedicated in December, 2004.

Fagan has created sculptures of other presidents, as well. In 2003, his bas-relief sculpted portrait bust of former President Ronald Reagan, commissioned for the U.S.S. Reagan, received international media coverage. In a truly innovative choice of medium, Fagan mounted the bust on a piece of the Berlin Wall, in recognition of the president's contribution to the reunification of Germany. Fagan's sculptural work also can be seen locally, as his sculpture of Revolutionary War hero, Nathanael Greene, stands in Greensburg's St. Clair Park.

Fagan is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale University, where he received a degree in Russian and East European studies. A self-taught artist, he spent much of his childhood in Brussels, Belgium, where he was artistically influenced by the works of great European masters. This interest in traditional art, coupled with his incomparable skill in form and color, fuels his distinctively elegant style. Fagan currently resides in Charlotte, N.C., and recent solo exhibitions of his works have been hosted by Shain Gallery in Charlotte, Metropolitan Gallery in Washington, D.C., and Sommerville Manning Gallery in Greenville, Del.

 

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