Again at the Midwest Museum of American Art

Here are some paintings from the Midwest Museum of American Art's Permanent Collection that were on display in the galleries adjoining their display of my own exhibition Unbroken Thread: The Art of Philip Koch. Above is an oil by John Elwood Bundy (1853-1933) that the museum lists as Untitled (Indiana Landscape). I was drawn to it as it reminds me so much of the landscape I used to paint out around Bloomington and Nashville, Indiana when I was first venturing outside to paint as a grad student at Indiana University.

Bundy probably did this one mostly outdoors too. He deftly focuses our attention on some trees far more than others by limiting his use of strong darks to only a few places in the painting. As it's mostly done in subtle umbers and yellows, this heightened sensitivity to tonalities is critical for the warm glowing atmosphere that ties the painting together.

Bundy moved to the small city of Richmond, Indiana and taught at Earlham College's Art Department. He painted the unassuming fields surrounding the town for years and created an impressive body of work. Apparently Richmond at the time was a bustling manufacturing center and supported a whole group of landscape painters known as the Richmond School. Bundy helped found what became the Richmond Art Museum, the only art museum in the US located in a public high school. Wish my high school had something like that. In fact, my school had so few art teachers that I wasn't allowed to register for an art class. (The guidance counselor told me the school's art classes "weren't for people who were going to go to college"). Back in 2003 I had a solo show at Earlham College's Leeds Gallery and served as the juror for Richmond Art Museum's annual regional juried show. It was an impressive little museum.

Above is an American Impressionist work by Robert Reid (1862-1929). Titled Bathing in a Stream, 1898 it achieves a delicate balance between lightly toned forms, each with subtly varying colors. Notice the way the tree branch of the upper left corner pushes the woman forward into our space. The tree is serves as an engine to rev up the energy in an otherwise tonally very restrained painting. The device works beautifully.

Compared to Robert Reid, I realize I love to paint with emphatic darks. Here are some images from my own show

Above is Brian Byrn, the Curator at the Midwest Museum of American Art, speaking to the crowd at the opening reception for their exhibition of my paintings on June 6. Just to the right of Brian on the far wall is Inland, oil, 45 x 60".

Below are more of the reception visitors. The large oil on the wall is The Song of All Days, 36 x 72"

Two of the museum visitors looking a Equinox, oil on panel, 30 x 45."

Below: Far wall, Down to the Bay, oil, 36 x 72"

And below at left: The Birches of Maine, oil, 40 x 32"


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