September 24 was the opening of one of the first David Owsley Museum of Art fall exhibitions, With Watercolor: Content via Technique. Opening the same night, Being There is a photography exhibition curated by Ball State professor and artist Mark Sawrie. A reception was held for the show’s opening night. Guests were greeted by live piano music in the sculpture court before traveling upstairs to the Special Exhibition Galleries where the show is on display.
With Watercolor comprises of a strong compilation of watercolor art. A myriad of work ranging from neutral to explosive colors and from abstract to photo-realistic subject matter adorn the walls. “The range is the highlight of the show,” remarked Brian Gordy, guest curator for the event. It should be noted that all of the art in this exhibit is owned by the David Owsley Museum of Art. DOMA has a vast repository of significant artwork. Only a small portion of the museum’s extensive collection can be displayed at once so temporary exhibitions, such as this, are perfect opportunities to showcase the additional artwork within the collection. “It’s lovely,” says former Burris professor Marilyn DeWeese, “it really makes you appreciate what we have here.”
As the title suggests, there is a great deal of emphasis on technique. There are many different application methods involved in the watercolor process, such as wet on wet, drybrush, and wash. Signs around the gallery provide information on the various methods and technique used on each specific painting.
Another highlight of the exhibition is an in depth example of how Winslow Homer’s The Ranger, Adirondacks was created. This watercolor painting, created in the mid to late 19th century, depicts a long figure looking out over the horizon. The work of art is enlarged and displays diagrams showing the six various watercolor applications that the artist used to create his effects.
With Watercolor also features an interactive area where guests can make their own watercolor works of art. Paint, brushes, paper, water, and napkins are all provided, with racks for drying and displaying your work. After these watercolor paintings have been allowed to dry, guests can take them home or they may leave them for display.
DOMA’s guest curator for the event was Brian Gordy. Gordy is a Muncie local and owner of Gordy’s Fine Art and Framing shop downtown. A graduate of Ball State’s Art Department and watercolor artist with over 35 years’ worth of experience; he has been given the title of “Indiana Artisan.” In addition to helping plan the show, Gordy hosted a watercolor demonstration after the reception.
At 6:30 DOMA’s recital hall filled with guests anxious to watch Gordy recreate Edward Hopper’s House with Rain Barrel. Hopper’s piece is featured in the exhibition, so guests were able to familiarize themselves with the artwork before the demonstration. A camera was set up above Gordy and projected his workstation so guests could easily observe him paint. Gordy provided commentary as he painted. He was able to transform painting into a performance art.
“This is my favorite place in Muncie,” says Ball State professor Dr. Berg, referencing the museum. “It brings the whole world to me.” The special exhibition With Watercolor: Content via Technique will run through December 27. Brian Gordy will also return to the David Owsley Museum of Art on October 25 for Community Day.