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Illinois Artists Paintings and Drawings

through August 17, 2008

The work of Illinois artists is the focus of an exhibition of paintings and drawings on view through August 17, 2008 in the main galleries of the Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University.  (right: Tom David, Mattoon, IL, Ambrosia, 2005, watercolor, Ronchetti Acquistion Fund Purchase Award, Drawing/Watercolor: Illinois 16th Biennial Exhibition)

The exhibition presents artwork in a wide variety of styles and subjects in painting and drawing media selected from the Tarble Arts Center permanent collection.  The works date from the 1880s to the present.  Most of the art exhibited are works on paper, but some works on canvas and board are also included.  The exhibition encompasses a wide range of drawing and painting media, including watercolor, oil, acrylic, pastel, graphite, charcoal, colored pencil, and mixed media.  Included are landscapes, figure studies, still lifes, and portraits.  Most of the art is representational in style, from Romantic landscape to Surrealism, but some abstracts are also included.

The majority of the artworks on exhibition are the purchase awards from the Drawing/Watercolor: Illinois biennial competitive exhibition, dating from 1979 to 2007.  Drawing/Watercolor: Illinois is one of the oldest continuing exhibitions at Eastern Illinois University.  Founded in 1979 for the Paul T. Sargent Gallery, Watercolor: Illinois was continued when Eastern's gallery program was moved from the Sargent Gallery to the Tarble Arts Center in 1982.  In 1996 the exhibition was expanded to include drawings and the title was changed to Drawing/Watercolor: Illinois.

Watercolors from the Tarble's American Scene sub-collection are also on view, acquired from Associated American Artists and through the WPA.  And the drawings of historic architecture to commemorate the Charleston Sesquicentennial in 1985 are exhibited; each has a brief description of the building depicted.

Also on show are atypical works by Paul T. Sargent (a desert scene and an ocean view), and early and late works by Robert M. Root.  Sargent, from Charleston, and Root, from Shelbyville, were the only Illinois artists to have membership in Indiana's Brown County Artist Association in the 1920s and '30s.  While Sargent is know for his association with the Brown County artist colony, Root is best known for his 1918 painting of the Lincoln-Douglas debate held in Charleston in 1858.

Folk art from the Tarble collection is represented through paintings by Jerome McGahan, Charleston, and Mary Sophia Eveland, Pekin.   McGahan was the uncle and painting companion of noted folk artist Jennie Cell, and their styles are very similar.  EIU emeritus Art faculty are represented with works by Walter Sorge, Lynn Trank, Carl Wilen, Carl Shull, and Ben Watkins.  The EIU Art alumni represented are Ralph Wickeiser, Nancy Graham, and Rich Lo.  

In addition to Illinois artists, the exhibition includes traditional Chinese ink and watercolor paintings by Wang Qianmu and Lu Shaotian, created while each were visiting artists at EIU, and watercolors by Abstract Expressionist  Lawrence Calcagno.  Calcagno was the one of the first artists to be given a solo show when the Tarble Arts Center first opened in 1982. (right: Robert Root, U.S., b. 1863, Shelbyville, IL, October in Illinois, 1923, watercolor on board, Bequest of Maurice D. Cook, In memory of Robert C. and Clara DeLap Cook)

Admission is free and the public is invited. 

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