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Visions of the Susquehanna

September 8 - December 2, 2007


This magnificent exhibition gathers two and a half centuries of art depicting the Susquehanna River from the eighteenth century to the present day. These paintings and watercolors depict the course of the river and its tributaries from Lake Otsego, New York, through Pennsylvania to the Chesapeake Bay at Havre de Grace, Maryland.

The exhibition mirrors the abiding love of the American landscape that characterizes the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. Many artists featured in the exhibition are also represented in the Museum's permanent collection. "Visions of the Susquehanna" features a rare 1767 landscape by famed artist Benjamin West (1738-1820) as well as depictions of the lovely green mountains and tree-lined shallows of the Susquehanna River basin by nineteenth-century masters such as George Inness (1825-1894) and twentieth- and twenty-first century artists like Stephen Hancock (b. 1951).

The human history of the river plays out across the nineteenth century in works by such major American artists as Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900) and Thomas Moran (1837-1926) that show the growth of farms, towns, railroads and viaducts along the river. Shown above is "Starrucca Viaduct," an 1865 oil by Cropsey on loan from the Toledo Museum of Art, purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey bequest, in memory of her father, Maurice A. Scott. Then in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, natural beauty vies with industrialization and pollution in paintings like a striking 2006 watercolor of a foundry by the river by Matthew Daub (b. 1953) and Rob Evans' (b. 1959) haunting 1997 depiction of flocks of birds migrating above a bridge over the river.

The exhibition is curated by scholar and artist Rob Evans, who grew up visiting his grandparents in the Susquehanna River valley and now lives and works by the river near Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. "Visions of the Susquehanna" is mounted by the Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The lushly illustrated catalogue "Visions of the Susquehanna: 250 Years of Paintings by American Masters," featuring essays by Rob Evans, Leo G. Mazow and David B. Dearinger, will be available in the Museum Shop.

-- the above text is excerpted from the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts website.


About the curator

Rob Evans is an artist and independent curator who lives and works near Wrightsville, PA. He received a BFA from Syracuse University in 1981 and has been awarded grants from the Ford Foundation, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the E.D. Foundation, the Eben Demarest Trust and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.
Evans' meticulous paintings and drawings have been featured in numerous solo and curated group exhibitions at such places as the Tretyakov Museum, Moscow; Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, D.C.; Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts; Contemporary Art Center of Virginia; Arkansas Art Center; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; National Science Foundation; Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Newport News, VA and an exhibition of American drawings organized by the Smithsonian Institution which toured internationally. In 2001, Evans' 10 foot long painting, Cicada, traveled to five museums around the state of Pennsylvania as part of the exhibit, Artists of the Commonwealth: Realism in Pennsylvania Painting 1950-2000 and is now on long-term display at the James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA.
Evans' work can be found in many public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; National Gallery of Art; Corcoran Museum of Art; Achenbach Foundation of the California Legion of Honor, San Francisco Art Museums; Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College; Portland (OR) Art Museum; State Museum of Pennsylvania; Noyes Museum of Art, Oceanville, NJ; James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA; Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA; Lancaster(PA) Museum of Art; Allentown (PA) Art Museum; and the University of Delaware. His paintings have been featured in numerous books, newspapers and magazines and on public radio and television.
As an independent curator Evans organized and guest curated the exhibit Transforming the Commonplace: Masters of Contemporary Realism at the Susquehanna Art Museum which featured major work by such internationally acclaimed painters as Antonio Lopez Garcia, Odd Nerdrum, Jamie Wyeth, William Beckman, Bo Bartlett, Vincent Desiderio, Gregory Gillespie, Steven Assael, Tom Uttech, Neil Welliver and Brett Bigbee among many others. Evans also recently organized and guest curated the traveling exhibition titled Visions of the Susquehanna featuring paintings of this extraordinary river spanning more than 250 years. Included in the exhibit are such prominent American artists as Benjamin West, Joshua Shaw, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Thomas Moran, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Thomas Worthington Whittredge, Charles Demuth, Lloyd Mifflin, Raoul Middleman, Leonard Koscianski, Mark Innerst, Randall Exon, Peter Paone, Matthew Daub and Debra Bermingham to name just a few.
-- excerpted from the curators website


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