The Schneider Museum of Art presents Views from the Inner Eye

(Ashland, Ore.) Opening with a public reception on Thursday, June 16, 5-7 p.m., the Schneider Museum of Art will present Views from the Inner Eye, the museum’s summer offering of three one-person exhibitions:

Morris Graves: from the collection of the Vellutini Family
Ellen Van Fleet: Barred Rock Bantams
M.R. Renjan: Reverberating Echoes
These shows will run through Friday, August 26, 2011.

The Schneider Museum is located on the Southern Oregon University campus, near the intersection of Indiana St. and Siskiyou Blvd. in Ashland, OR.  Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10am to 4pm.  Admission is $5.  For more information phone 541-552-6245 or visit us on the web: http://www.sou.edu/sma

Morris Graves (1910-2001) helped establish a place for visionary painting in the annals of twentieth-century American art.  Primarily a self-taught artist, Graves rejected the bravura aesthetic of the Abstract Expressionists, and the realist concerns of the Regionalists, in favor of a mystical art in which he sought to convey the inner soul of his subject.  Executed in a semi-abstract style that evoked the subtleties of traditional Chinese painting, Graves’s work reflects his own transcendental inclinations coupled with the impact of East Asian philosophies.

Graves lived the last four decades of his life in Loleta, along the northern California coast.  During his years there he developed a lasting friendship with the Vellutini family (Ray, Dolores and their children Andrea and Joseph), and they in turn amassed a collection of works by their friend.  All the works on view are now also members of the family, works they have lived and grown up with and viewed so often they ‘can be seen in their sleep.’  But they have never kept the collection just to themselves.  The Vellutini’s have contributed works to collections and shows up and down the West Coast.  And we are ever so grateful for their generosity in loaning a show to the Schneider Museum.

Ellen Van Fleet is showing large, often collaged, abstract watercolors—many of them based on her observations of Barred Rock Bantams.  But these are not merely illustrations of chickens.  As she states:

For over 30 I have been a visual artist following the threads of ideas through corridors opening and closing in the folds of my brain.  I am stimulated by what catches my attention and what stimulates me I do; visually anyway.  It has all been quite simple.  There has been no other activity I do that has the snorty cavorting horse feeling that an unfolding work of art has.  Art is using all that interesting accumulation of skill and Homo sapiens chance development, toward the possibility of expressing human visual mystery.

M.R. Renjan is from Kerala state in India, and now teaches art in Delhi.

While Renjan is no outsider to whatever is deemed ‘modernism’, the imaginative qualities that he frequently seems to project in his works are drawn from a still living cultural tradition, as reflected in Indian dance forms, especially those of Kerala.

His images are of dramatic suspense, where the natural and the supernatural are engaged in a tête-à-tête.  The works owe little to the appearance of observed reality.  His predisposition towards envisioning the Pandora’s box of the inner world is timely.  He manifests it as charged with the traces of the fabulous, a theatre of pregnant meanings, surprising possibilities, of strange specters and visitations.

All three shows are examples of the expressive tradition in the arts.  Each of the artists has created works that reflect their interior state of being; this is the source, the wellspring of their art.  Each seeks to give us a new way to look at and experience the world.

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