With the start of the semester around the corner, the LEAP Ambassadors celebrated their favorite professor’s birthday by viewing the SHSU Art Department’s new exhibit, “The Light from a Star” and by enjoying cupcakes from the local bakery, Two Blondes and A Bakery. The exhibit included works from Charles Pebworth, Jimmy H. Barker, Harry Ahysen, Stanley E. Lea, May Schow, and Kenneth Zonker, all of whom taught at SHSU–and, of course, produced some wonderful art.
We were welcomed into the room by a large Stanley E. Lea collage but not nearly as big as the one featured on the north wall of the first floor.
Both of these collages featured orange prominently, perhaps as a nod to Lea’s almost three decades of teaching at SHSU. His work can also be found locally in the GPAC as well as the Wynne Home Arts Center.
The exhibit was a collection of artwork created with different media, but I loved the vibrant watercolors utilized in the 1989 untitled painting of trees by Harry Ahysen, which we had trouble photographing.
This painting was unique since both Professor Yawn and Ms. Stephanie mentioned that it was quite different than anything they had previously seen by Ahysen. Yvette’s favorite was number seven in the exhibit, Lake Travis, by Harry Ahysen in 1984. It was a beautiful painting with a lot of blues and greens to capture the beauty of the lake, sky, the surrounding city, and landscape.
Although it had a darker theme than the prior watercolor painting and the Lake Travis painting, all of the ambassadors found another Ahysen nature art piece interesting.
Ahysen was a quick worker, and his work sold well throughout his lifetime. In 1980, he was designated by the Texas Legislature as the State Artist of Texas, and his work can be found in various campus locations and at City Hall in Huntsville.
Morgan’s attention was drawn to an art piece done by May Schow that resembled colors and techniques used by French symbolist painter Paul Gauguin, albeit with some American Regionalist overtones.
Schow was a real find for us, because even Professor Yawn and Ms. Stephanie were not familiar with her work, but we were all intrigued and wanted to see more.
In the adjacent room, the exhibit continued, and upon entering there were paintings by Jimmy H. Barker. These were done with pencil and or charcoal on paper and therefore had a much darker theme which the ravens within added to. As well as the weather outside since it was cloudy and raining, I did like untitled number 18 in the exhibit by Barker that had not only the birds but also trees around them.
Barker passed away six years ago, after a long career at SHSU and of community involvement.
Outside the exhibit, there was a small lounge area that featured the James Surls Through It All, which is a woodcut print on paper.
It was very different yet like his sculptures since it repeated his motif of blades throughout the print. Surls is one of our favorites, and we were fortunate to meet him at least year’s distinguished alumni gala…
…and to have seen his work across the country…
There was also a Charles Pebworth, like the ones we have seen before, with what appeared to be bronze and copper–or, perhaps, a stainless steel with a bronzish patina. It was not in the exhibit proper, but is on, we presume, permanent display on the first floor.
Pebworth’s work can be found around the country and, locally, it can be found in the First National Bank, the Wynne Home, the Gaertner Performing Arts Center, and the Newton Gresham Library. We also visited this piece in the Hyatt in downtown Houston.
We also enjoyed seeing some of Charles Jones’s works around the first floor, woodcuts done in his usual style of famous individuals from the art and literary worlds.
We visited the gallery the Friday before school begins–move-in day–but the exhibit is up until August 27, so we encourage everyone to stop by next week, enjoy the beautiful art work, and experience part of SHSU’s artistic legacy.
On behalf of the LEAP Ambassadors, we would like to thank the Art Department for letting us view this exhibit today and to wish Professor Yawn a “Happy Birthday!”