Barry Gealt: Embracing Nature at the IU Art Museum

Yesterday my wife, daughter, and I made an epic 17 hour round trip to Bloomington, Indiana. We left our home at 9am and returned a little after 2am the next morning.

It was a long, rainy drive, but it was worth it. We went to the opening reception for Emeritus Professor Barry Gealt’s retrospective exhibition Embracing Nature at the Indiana University Art Museum.

Barry was my main professor while I earned my MFA at IU and has continued to be a mentor and encouragement. It was the least I could do to be present for this opening and evening of celebrating Barry’s life and work as both a painter and an educator. Below are a few fragments from the night.

The text just inside the doorway to the Special Exhibitions Wing of the IU Art Museum.

Detail of Greenwich Beach, Prince Edward Island, 2009. The top layer of a living document.

Detail of Condon’s View of Corea, Maine, 2011. Brushmarks are alchemical – both entirely surface and entirely illusion; both/and.

Prince Edward Island, East Point (2009), commands a wall in the gallery. The works spill and splash; their air inundates viewers.

A detail of the majestic edge of Indiana Vista, 2001. Paint as light, matter, air, and presence.

A detail view of Owen County Vista from 1994 – compared to Barry’s more recent work this is pretty smooth. Even so, it’s tremendously worked and amazingly saturated.

Beautiful density in a detail of The Cave, 1994. This painting is incredible in its color and level of surface development. Evocative.

Robert Shakespeare’s Light Totem saturated the area outside Barry’s show with energy – my 2 year old loved it.

There’s Barry waving to me from across the Atrium during the post-reception dinner. A beautiful space and a beautiful evening.

Here I am (sporting my Indianapolis Colts Marvin Harrison #88 jersey) holding the book that was published in tandem with the exhibition. It is AWESOME. You can pre-order your own copy by clicking here. Do it! The essays are wonderful, the reproductions and details fantastic. I was able to have a significant correspondence with the author, Rachael Berenson Perry, in 2011 which resulted in many of my thoughts and reflections on my time with Barry being used in the book. I was extremely honored to be included in this text; it’s really more than I could have imagined. To get to be a part of this celebration of Barry’s life and work is humbling and truly a highpoint of my life as an artist.

If you can get to the show, DO IT. It’s worth it.

Barry Gealt: Embracing Nature will be on at the IU Art Museum from October 6 until December 23, 2012

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