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News : Arts Jan 28, 2013 - 6:13:02 AM

WCSU to host retrospective exhibition by landscape artist Grimes

By Western Connecticut State University

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A painting by Margaret Grimes (contributed photo)
DANBURY, CT - Western Connecticut State University will host a retrospective exhibition featuring a body of work spanning more than 40 years by landscape painter Margaret Grimes. The exhibition will run from Thursday, Feb. 14, through Thursday, March 14, at The Gallery at Higgins Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. An opening reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 14 in the gallery. The public is invited to the reception and to view Grimes’ work. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from noon to 4 p.m.

Grimes also will discuss her work in an art slide lecture at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 5. The talk will be in Viewing Room 1 of White Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus. The public is invited.

A painting by Margaret Grimes (contributed photo)
Grimes’ large-scale paintings of the wooded landscape evoke the majesty of the American landscape tradition with all the fervor of the Abstract Expressionist movement. While her works are recognizable as tangled thickets of impenetrable undergrowth or clustered, leaf-laden limbs of the copse, the eye is always led to the tangible quality of the paint and brushwork. Color is applied like a mosaic; fragments of brilliant red, acid orange and luminous pinks are spackled over languid greens and blacks giving an otherworldly and vivid life force to the foliage.

Grimes said of her work, “In art school we were told to look at nature as if we were seeing it for the first time. Now we look at it as if we were seeing it for the last time, hence the need to meticulously observe. I desire to find the abstract in the natural, and, by close observation of the intensity of individual moments, approach the transcendent.”

The exhibition marks Grimes’ retirement from her full-time faculty position at WCSU, where she has taught for 32 years. While at Western, she was awarded the Henry Barnard Foundation Distinguished Lectureship award in 1990, and in 1992 received a lifetime appointment as a Connecticut State University Professor, a distinguished professor award. She also initiated the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts program, which she coordinated from 2000–11. The M.F.A. was the first terminal degree program at Western, one of only three M.F.A. programs in painting in Connecticut, and the only M.F.A. in a public university between SUNY-Purchase and the University of Connecticut.

A painting by Margaret Grimes (contributed photo)
Grimes received an M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied with well-known landscape painter Neil Welliver. Since then, she has exhibited regularly in New York and in museums and galleries throughout the nation. Grimes’ work has been discussed in art publications such as Art in America and featured in books on American landscape painting. Her work is in several significant collections, including the National Academy of Design, where she won the Benjamin Altman Prize in 2004; The National Academy of Sciences and the City of New York. She is a member of the National Academy of Design, Blue Mountain Gallery in New York City and the Washington Art Association. She lives in Washington, Conn.

The exhibition will travel to Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., after having been on display for a month at WCSU.

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