Work of the Week: Burglars, Beaters, and Burners

Written by: Emily Sabens, Public Relations Intern

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Roger Brown. Beaters, Burglars, and Burners, 1992. Oil on canvas. 48 x 72 inches. David Owsley Museum of Art. 2005.012.000

“Burglars, Beaters, and Burners” by Roger Brown depicts the famous Los Angeles riots. In 1992, riots broke out in Los Angeles County, California. Anger was ignited when four police officers were found not guilty after severely beating Rodney King.

During the previous year, King was on parole for robbery. He led police on a high-speed chase throughout the city. When police were able to stop him, they ordered King out of the car. The four officers then kicked him repeatedly and hit him with their batons––which was caught on camera from a bystander. King suffered permanent brain damage, skull fractures and broken bones and teeth.

A year later, a jury found the four officers (three of whom were white) not guilty of beating King, who was black. Almost immediately, riots broke out in Los Angeles. Motivated by years of racial inequality, individuals began to set fires, robbed stores and started violent fights.

The riots continued for six days. More than 2,000 people were injured and over 50 lost their lives. Over 1,000 buildings were damaged, resulting in more than $1 billion worth of damage.

Brown was one of the leading members of the Chicago Imagists, a group of artists who created bold works that explore the U.S. in the postwar era. His works were daring and often contained political commentary, specifically when it came to civil rights.

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Painted during the same year the riots broke out, Brown depicts the robberies, beatings and fires that happened in Los Angeles in this painting. This work is a perfect example of Brown’s funky and colorful style; his inspiration stemmed from comic books and Southern folk art, rather than traditional works of fine art.

Visit the David Owsley Museum of Art today to see “Burglars, Beaters, and Burners,” located upstairs in the Ball Brothers Foundation Gallery.

Adult Painting Workshop: An Overview

 

Written by Emi Frame, DOMA Education Intern

On February 11, 2018, an adult painting workshop was held at DOMA that related to the museum’s Spring 2018 special exhibition Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955. The

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Anderson addresses the participants of the adult painting workshop that took place on Feb 11, 2018.

workshop was led by Ball State painting professor Scott Anderson, and assisted by DOMA director of education Tania Said and education intern Emi Frame. The workshop’s objective was to guide participants in using watercolor to paint expressively. Participants were encouraged to let go and embrace the materiality of the paint in order to create abstract works of art.

“Teaching is also a learning process,” Anderson said. “To truly share what you feel or know, you must also maintain that same curiosity for learning. The knowledge [and] techniques that I was able to communicate were equal to what I learned during the workshop.”

Anderson articulated how the elements of abstraction in Diebenkorn’s work could inform the participants work, such as his iconic calligraphic line and color forms.

Workshop participants were provided with a set of watercolors that were made from dry paint pigments by Anderson. In addition to the paint, they were also given a palette, a set of brushes, black ink, two large pieces of paper for their paintings and a sketch pad for practice. Once everyone had their materials, Anderson spent time informing participants of the components and colors of their hand-mixed paints and introduced the basics of watercolor. The quality and thoughtfulness of the hand-mixed paint was well received by everyone and seemed to add a new element to their experiences with painting.

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Anderson gives a tour of the Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955 galleries.

After the brief lesson, the group was given a tour of the Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955 galleries which focused on specific paintings for inspiration during the workshop. Participants felt that this allowed them to better understand Diebenkorn’s painting and how his abstract style could be applied to the workshop activities.

When the group returned from viewing the exhibition, they were ready to paint! Prof. Anderson began the painting activities by demonstrating how to use watercolor paint and ink to create a base composition for a painting. Participants practiced in their sketchpads while Anderson scanned participants work and helped as needed. Each participant seemed enthusiastic about painting and not at all afraid to try out the media. Once everyone seemed to have a level of control over their materials, the group began their final paintings on their larger pieces of paper. Anderson worked on a painting along with everyone that helped the participants understand how the natural properties of the paint allow for expressive results.

“It is always rewarding to collaborate with DOMA and the Muncie community,” Anderson said.

Each participant created unique, abstract paintings that successfully displayed their own

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Anderson presents a demonstration to the class.

artistic voices. Jeffery Brackett is an associate professor of religious studies at Ball State who attended the workshop with his family.

“I have a strong interest in abstract painting, especially ones by artists who use a variety of media (e.g. watercolor, oil, acrylic, and ink),” Brackett said. “Hence, Diebenkorn’s work fascinates me. My wife, daughter and I all participated in the workshop so we could better appreciate Diebenkorn’s work. . .We left the workshop inspired, not only by Diebenkorn’s work, but also with a renewed interest in developing our own artistic interests. Connecting a workshop like this one to the current exhibit at DOMA was a great experience. The leadership team did a wonderful job.”

As emphasized by Brackett’s comment, the purpose of the workshop was not to directly mimic Diebenkorn’s works or to be guided in creating a specific image, but rather to learn how to create abstract art that is personal to each participant. The workshop ended positively as each person completed at least two paintings and were provided with a new understanding (and new paint!) that could be used for future paintings.

“It was exciting to offer painting workshops in conjunction with Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955,” said Tania Said, who organized the workshop. “Participants can appreciate the creative genius of the artists, understand abstract and non-objective art and just have a good time.”

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Anderon’s finished demonstration painting

Overall, the workshop was a lively experience for participants to learn more about working with abstraction while also appreciating the work of Richard Diebenkorn.

The next workshop to be offered in conjunction with the Richard Diebenkorn exhibition is a youth painting workshop (for children ages 10-15) on April 8, which will be led by Ball State art education professor, Dr. Mike Prater. Registration for this event is available online on the DOMA website.

DOMA’s special exhibition, Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942–1955, will be on display until May 20, 2018. We hope to see you there!

 

 

Work of the Week: Behind a Lonely Cloud

Written by: Emily Sabens, Public Relations Intern

“Behind a Lonely Cloud” is a hidden gem in our collection. Displayed in the John J. and Angeline Pruis Gallery, this painting by Irene Rice Pereira is bold, bright and colorful.

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Irene Rice Pereira. Behind a Lonely Cloud, about 1950–1960. Oil on canvas. David Owsley Museum of Art. Gift of N. Joseph Leigh. 1959.010.000

Pereira, born in Boston in 1902, played an important role in developing modern art in the U.S. She took her first art class at age 24 at the Washington Irving High School in Manhattan. A year later, Pereira began courses with Jan Matulka; she began introducing her to the works of modern artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, whose works are also represented in DOMA’s works on paper collection. After concluding her studies, she traveled throughout Europe and many African countries, drawing inspiration from the scenery and cultures she experienced.

 

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Photo provided by The Windswept on Facebook

Most notably, Pereira was a founder and a teacher at the Design Laboratory––a school of industrial design that encouraged artists to explore chemistry and physics. Pereira, along with the other faculty, believed experimenting with physical properties in laboratories would help shape students into better artists.

 

Pereira grew to be a prominent artist in the New York City art scene. Her works were unique and innovative; she often created “machine” paintings, incorporating images of items such as hinges, levers and gears.

“Behind a Lonely Cloud,” created by Pereira somewhere between 1950 and 1960, is a perfect example of her bold style. Like she often did with her artworks, Pereira experimented with various means of paint application, including scraping, splattering and carving. These techniques produce depth and create an illusion of transparency across the canvas.

Visit DOMA today to see “Behind a Lonely Cloud,” located upstairs in the John J. and Angeline Pruis Gallery.

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“Behind a Lonely Cloud” was one of the paintings chosen for last year’s Art in Bloom event.

Happy Birthday, Stella Snead!

Written by: Emily Sabens, Public Relations Intern

Stella Snead, Surrealist painter, photographer and collage artist, was born on this day in 1910. To celebrate her birthday, here are five fast facts about Snead!

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Stella Snead. Advancing Monuments, 1946. Oil on canvas. David Owsley Museum of Art. Gift of Stella Snead, 2001.005.000

1. Snead had a bit of a late start

It wasn’t until Snead was in her mid-20s that she pursued a career as an artist. Before then, she had taken a few secretarial courses, but she was unable to hold a daily work schedule due to her mental illness. But she did become infatuated with art––specifically painting. Snead eventually studied with Amédée Ozenfant, a leading French abstract painter, at the Ozenfant Academy of Fine Art in London.

2. She decided to move to the United States

In 1939, when war broke out against Germany in World War II, Snead fled from the Europe to the United States. Throughout the next 10 years of her life, she moved back-and-forth between New York City and Taos, New Mexico.

3. Snead’s paintings look like something out of a dream

Snead created most of her works during the 1940s. Her paintings mainly feature dreamlike landscapes, filled with whimsical animals and fantastical human creatures.

4. She actually gave up painting

Around the 1950s, Snead abruptly stopped painting. She later said this was due to her depression ––which, at the time, was worsened by a bad breakup. While this took away her desire to paint, she found a new love of photography during this time period.

5. Snead became fascinated with India

Throughout the 1960s, Snead began taking long trips to India. There, she photographed nature, street life and Hindu sculptures. She ended up publishing eight books, which featured photos from her travels.

We house two of Snead’s works here at DOMA: “Tornado,” painted in 1946, and “Advancing Monuments,” also painted in 1946 and currently on display in the Ball Brothers Foundation Gallery.