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This article was prepared for the January 8, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Space, Time, and Light
Philadelphia-area painter Randall Exon says his desire
to make paintings "has always come from my intense fascination
with the land and the evocative effects of light." The solo exhibition,
"Randall Exon: A Quiet Light," opens at the James A. Michener
Art Museum on Saturday, January 11. Exon gives a slide lecture and
gallery talk on Sunday, January 12, for the show that will remain
on view to April 27.
Part of the Michener’s ongoing series of contemporary masters of landscape
painting, the show features some 35 Exon landscapes, interiors, and
still lifes which are often characterized by such words as "moody,"
"passionate," and "evocative." Centering on the landscape
and the figure in the landscape, Exon explores the ways in which memory
and imagination inform us about how the land and realities behind
"My desire to make paintings has always come from my intense fascination
with the land and the evocative effects of light," says the artist.
He describes his "realism" tends towards evocation rather
than accuracy as its primary goal. Many of Exon’s "realist"
scenes are fictions made up entirely form personal experience and
memory, a combination of past and present impressions. He is interested
in creating the kind of scene which, as he says, "doesn’t really
exist outside my painting."
Born in South Dakota and raised in Kansas and Oregon, Exon received
his undergraduate degree from Washburn University in 1978 and earned
an MFA at University of Iowa in 1982. For the past 16 years he has
been a professor of studio art at Swarthmore College.
As a boy in South Dakota, Exon spent long hours on his
grandparents’ farm. "Looking back on it now, it seemed a place
out of time," he says. "Theirs was a way of life that was
much more about the 19th rather than the 20th century. When I make
paintings today, I am often drawing upon my memories of their farm
and the landscape of the upper Midwest." His evocative realism,
however, stems from more than sentimentality. "Nostalgia does
not interest me at all," he says. "The kind of landscapes
that interest me are those that combine elements of my past with the
"Space, time, and light: three words that come to mind then I
think about Randy," writes the show’s curator, Brian Peterson,
in his catalog essay. "Some landscape painters use space as a
way of filling up the gaps between events. But Randy doesn’t think
of space as empty. Even his indoor paintings feel roomy. But in the
landscapes, space becomes the main character on the stage… Space
is a living thing in these paintings — a tangible, palpable presence."
Highlighted in "A Quiet Light" are several works created by
Exon during a 1997 painting fellowship to County Mayo on the coast
"Randy is not the first painter who fell in love with light, time,
and space," writes Peterson, who cites Martin Johnson Heade, Fitz
Hugh Lane, Daniel Garber, and George Inness as some of Exon’s notable
predecessors. "Go back a little further, and the glowing interiors
of Vermeer come into view," he adds. "The light in his paintings
does more than just define forms — it’s a quiet light that comes
from someplace other than the sun."
Museum , 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown, 215-340-9800. First
day for the solo show. Slide lecture and gallery talk Sunday, January
12, at 3 p.m. Admission $6 adults; $3 students and children. Show
runs to April 27. Saturday, January 11, 10 a.m.
Nassau Street, 609-921-6748. "From Tow Path to Bike Path: Princeton
and the Delaware and Raritan Canal," an exhibition on the history
and creation of the canal, the life of death of its workers, and recent
environmental and preservation issues. Open Tuesday to Sunday, noon
to 4 p.m.; through March.
Landscapes and floral works in watercolors, acrylic, and pastel by
Phyllis Lifschutz. Open Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday
and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Saturdays. To January 26.
Trenton, 609-394-4023. "From the Woodcut to the Gene," woodcuts,
glass etchings, and drawings by Walter Culbreth. Open Monday to Friday,
9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Show runs to January 24.
Road, Skillman, 609-921-3272. Princeton Photography Club’s second
annual juried exhibit of color and black and white photography. Subject
matter includes classic, landscapes, portraits, and abstract. Gallery
talk Sunday, January 12. On view Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m.
to 3 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. To January 26.
Branch Station, 908-725-2110. Annual juried members show featuring
award winners Erena Roe, Gary Briechle, and Liz Mitchell. Juror was
Barbara Madsen of Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts. Gallery
hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1
to 4 p.m. To January 18.
in Focus: Watercolors from the Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection,"
an exhibition of 16 rarely-seen works on paper by the precursor of
modern painting. Organized by Laura Giles, associate curator of prints
and drawings, the exhibition celebrates the publication of the first
scholarly catalog on these watercolors which span the entire range
of Cezanne’s career. On long-term loan to the museum since 1976, the
works are rarely shown due to their sensitivity to light. To January
Also "Beyond the Visible: A Conservator’s Perspective;" to
January 5. "Lewis Baltz: Nevada and Other Photographs," an
exhibition of recently acquired photographs and series by Lewis Baltz;
to January 19. "Earth’s Beauty Revealed: The 19th-Century European
Landscape;" to January 12. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.
to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Highlights tours every Saturday at 2
609-258-3184. "Unseen Hands: Women Printers, Binders, and Book
Designers," a Milberg Gallery exhibition curated by Rebecca Warren
Davidson. To March 30.
School, 609-258-1651. Photographs by Larry Fink that highlight the
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Community Health Leadership Program.
Created to recognize contributions of unsung health leaders across
the country to community health and health care, the show features
Arlene Goldsmith of New Alternatives for Children and Reverend Kenneth
Robinson M.D. of St. Andrew African Methodist Episcopal Church. Open
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To January 24.
Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Pentimenti: A Decade of Paintings,"
an exhibition of magic realist works by Eileen Kennedy-Dyne inspired
by illuminated manuscripts of the 13th and 14th centuries. Open Monday
to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2 to 8 p.m. To January
"Even though my style is undeniably linear, my work plays games
with space," says the artist. "I put figures and objects into
spaces that might suffocate a live person, leaving them barely room
Brunswick, 732-932-7237. Exhibitions include: "Paul Signac: A
Collection of Watercolors and Drawings"; to January 19. "Russian
Cover Design, 1920s to 1930s: The Graphic Face of the Post-Revolutionary
and Stalinist Periods"; to March 30. "Sergei Paradjanov Off
Camera: Collages, Assemblages, and Objects," to March 16. "Yurii
Dyshlenko: Abstraction, Modernity, and Mass Media;" to January
Open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday,
noon to 5 p.m. Spotlight tours every Sunday at 2 and 3 p.m. Admission
$3; under 18 free; and free on the first Sunday of every month.
"Traditions, Old and New," an exhibition of recent paintings
by Colette Sexton and Norine Kevolic. Open Thursday to Sunday, noon
to 5 p.m. To January 13.
Annual holiday show featuring paintings by Katharine Steele Renninger
and watercolors by Barbara Watts. Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
To January 12.
908-996-1470. Holiday invitational show of gallery artists including
Ed Baumlin, Ed Bronstein, W. Carl Burger, Christian Corey, Nessa Grainger,
Carol Ross, Rhoda Yanow, and Frank Zuccarelli. Open Wednesday & Thursday,
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.; and Sunday,
noon to 5 p.m. To January 30.
609-397-9022. "Inverted Year: Winter Landscape Paintings of the
Delaware Valley." Susan Twardus, curator and contributing artist,
says the same light and scenery that drew the painters of the New
Hope art colony a century ago, continue to inspire. To January 31.
exhibition of works by art school faculty members including Gail Bracegirdle,
Micheal Madigan, Charles Viera, and others. Open Monday to Friday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To January 17.
New Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "From the Old World to the New World,"
recent additions to the collection featuring works by nine Hungarian
Americans who emigrated to the U.S. between 1920 and 1957. Artists
are Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Bertha and Elena De Hellenbranth, Sandor Sugor,
Emil Kelemen, Willy Pogany, Tibor Gergely, Zoltan Poharnok, and Vincent
Korda. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and
Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. $5 donation. Through April.
732-745-4177. "Uncommon Clay: New Jersey’s Architectural Terra
Cotta Industry," an exhibition of artifacts and written and oral
histories of New Jersey’s once booming architectural ceramics industry.
Open Tuesday through Friday, 1 to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.
To May 30.
732-745-3030. National touring exhibit, "Preserving Memory: America’s
Monumental Legacy," telling the stories behind America’s outdoor
215-340-9800. "The Berenstain Bears Celebrate: The Art of Stan
and Jan Berenstain," the storybook authors’ first museum retrospective,
organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum and curated by David Leopold.
The show coincides with the publication of "Down a Sunny Dirt
Road: An Autobiography"; to January 12. $10; $7 child.
Also "Retreating to Ideal Environments," works from the New
Hope colony by Daniel Garber, Fern Coppedge, Robert Spencer, and others;
to February 2. Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday
and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Wednesday evenings to 9 p.m.
Route 1, North Brunswick, 732-249-2077. "Barnscapes: The Changing
Face of Agriculture in New Jersey," photographs of New Jersey
barns and farmlands, with 42 images by New Jersey landscape photographer
Louise Rosskam. To January 17. $4 adults, $2 children.
609-586-0616. In the Museum, new work by glass artist Dale Chihuly,
to April 6. In the Domestic Arts Building, work by winners of 2002
Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award, to
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., year round; Sunday
is Members Day. $4 Tuesday through Thursday; $7 Friday and Saturday;
and $10 Sunday.
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