Two New Exhibitions Open at UW Art Museum
August 29, 2012 — Two new exhibitions, “The American Vision of Winslow Homer: The Harper’s Weekly Illustrations,” and “Nature in Bronze: Sculpture from the Art Museum Collection,” open Saturday, Sept. 1, at the University of Wyoming Art Museum. Both exhibitions will be on view through Dec. 21.
Considered one of the foremost artists of 19th century American art, Homer (1836-1910) began his artistic career as an illustrator. In 1857, he began producing illustrations for Harper’s Weekly, a monthly magazine that highlighted literature, politics, culture, finance and the arts. With dramatic contrasts between light and dark, clean lines and simplified forms, he captured the American scene through his directness and objectivity to the subject.
Homer’s illustrations supplied a rich visual component to the news in a medium that would soon be replaced by photography and other forms of mass media. These illustrations, drawn from the UW Art Museum’s collection, provide an unparalleled glimpse into the 19th century American experience.
“Nature in Bronze: Sculpture from the Art Museum Collection” embodies the roots of modeling animals in sculpture. This practice dates back beyond the ancient Egyptians. However, it was the artists of the American West who sought to capture the nostalgia for the vanishing West through its wildlife. Each scene captured in bronze tells a story, rather than a pure documentation of nature. Included in the exhibition are traditional Western sculptures by Charles M. Russell, which demonstrate the artist’s keen ability of observation.
Other artists use the bronze medium to capture a dramatic moment in time. Contemporary sculptor T.D. Kelsey, for example, purposefully models the bronze to depict the contracted muscles of galloping horses, creating intense tension with lines and motion. The iconic imagery included in this exhibition is rooted in American history and is a truly American subject that generations of sculptors have cultivated and incorporated into a distinct genre.
These exhibitions join four additional exhibitions that are currently on view at the UW Art Museum. “Caribbean Color, Urban Lines and International Forms: Selected Works by Emilio Sanchez” and “Bold Strokes and Finesse: The Stage Designs of John Ezell” will remain on view through Nov. 10. “American Regionalism: Selections from the Art Museum Collection,” and “Interstitial: Between Earth and Sky,” a site-specific installation by artist Gerri Sayler that is the final installation for the exhibition, “Sculpture: A Wyoming Invitational,” will be on view through Dec. 21.
“Imagine learning from the masters” is a guiding principle of the UW Art Museum’s programs. Located in the Centennial Complex at 2111 Willett Drive in Laramie, the museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday hours are extended to 9 p.m. February through April and September through November. Admission is free.
Winslow Homer’s “The Morning Bell” appeared in Harper’s Weekly, Dec. 13, 1873. (UW Art Museum Collection)