Artists share inspiration in new exhibition

Posted on 10 October 2017 by admin

The Artist Collects features artwork from the personal collections of 28 regional artists


By: Melissa Wilkinson


A new exhibition opened Sept. 28 at the Meramec Contemporary Art Gallery in the HE building. According to curator David Hanlon, The Artist Collects features work submitted from the personal collections of 28 regional artists including instructors at Meramec, other
STLCC campuses and the University of Missouri.

“I sent a prospectus out to these artists in the summertime and requested that they think about which works they’re really inspired by or would represent what their collection is about,” said Hanlon. “It’s really pleasing to be able to see the result. It’s kind of a celebration of artists who are
presently working.”

Hanlon, who teaches photography at Meramec, said the purpose of the exhibition is to gather examples of work that his colleagues found inspirational.

“I asked them to pick works that they found important to the things they do as artists or really revel in looking at for extended periods,” said Hanlon. “Where they could hang it in their house and see new things in it fairly regularly.”

Betsy Morris, assistant chair of the art department at Meramec, submitted two pieces from her personal collection. One of them is a piece by American printmaker 2
Will Barnet.

“I got that print when I was in high school with some money my mother gave me,” said Morris. “I went up to a print gallery in Indianapolis and told the lady, ‘I have this amount of money and I want to buy a print.’ And this is what I picked, without knowing anything about prints or the artist.”

Morris’s second piece was drawn for her by artist Jack Beal during her internship with him in her junior year of college. Beal was best known for his series of four murals entitled “The History of Labor,” which he painted for the Labor Department in
Washington D.C.

Morris said she chose the piece because it wouldn’t have been shown to the public before.

“It gives people a chance to see work that they would not have occasion to see,” said Morris. “Particularly drawings…You’re not going to see a Jack Beal drawing.”

Illustration teacher Chuck Groth also submitted two pieces, one by pastel artist John Collier, the other by painter Anita Kunz. Groth said that he collects a lot of artwork from his own fields of illustration and graphic design and that he is a huge fan of both Collier
and Kunz.

“The reason I picked those two to be in the show is because I thought it would be a good chance for my students to see some of the things I talk about in class through a different voice,”
said Groth.

Groth said the show is one of the strongest and most surprising he’s seen in the gallery in the last
few years, praising the strength of every piece in the collection.

“The concept is maybe the most interesting part,” said Groth. “It’s like asking a musician, ‘what kind of music do you listen to?’ I think it’s really kind of revealing in a way to see what attracts the eye of an artist.”

According to curator David Hanlon, his submissions include a photograph by Hans Levi, the first piece Hanlon ever purchased in graduate school. Hanlon, who studied photography under Levi, said he purchased the piece from one of
Levi’s shows.

Hanlon said that despite initial uncertainty over what sort of submissions he would receive, the show fell together well in the end.

“I’m really grateful to all the artists who have opened up their collections to the exhibit,” said Hanlon. “It’s hard to give up even for a month some of the works you really prize. But the new collection we’re showing is certainly really terrific.”

The Artist Collects will be shown at the Meramec Contemporary Art Gallery until Oct. 20.


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