Exhibition schedule 2014
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Watercolor U.S.A. 2014

June 7 - August 3, 2014

Weisel & Kelly Galleries

Associated Events:

  • Opening Reception, hosted by SMMA|Friday, June 6, 2014 (5:30-7:00 PM) bond

This is the 53rd exhibition of Watercolor U.S.A., a national, annual juried exhibition recognizing aqueous media painting. The event is open to artists from all 50 states and U.S. territories and receives hundreds of entries annually. Works are judged for a variety of prizes and possible purchase by the Museum. The top award totals $3000 cash; approximately $40,000 in cash and merchandise awards are available. Organized in 1962 by the Springfield Art Museum, this event aims to attract the best in contemporary American watermedia and strives to exhibit work by artists who are pushing the boundaries of the medium. A catalogue of the exhibition will be available.

Pictured: Denny Bond, Time After Time, watercolor on paper, 2013.


Judah Fansler and Marla Rush Parnell

MAY 2 - AUGUST 31, 2014

Library Gallery

fansler bee

Judah Fansler describes himself as a neo-surrealist artist, illustrator and graphic designer. His work is inspired by the beauty of the Ozarks but also tends to incorporate progressive narratives, characters and fantasy worlds that build as the work nears completion. Fansler works in a variety of media including pen and ink, photography, and printmaking. He owns and operates a full service graphic design studio in Branson, Missouri.

Marla Rush Parnell is a pastel artist who specializes in portraiture. Her primary subjects include pets and children but she is most inspired by the “challenge of depicting the nuances of warm and cool colors in the light.” Parnell has exhibited extensively locally, regionally and nationally since 1995. She is a member of the Pastel Society of America, Gateway Pastel Artists, Springfield Regional Arts Council and the Visual Artist Alliance of Springfield. She and her husband, Hue, operate Parnell Studios Pottery and Portraits in Springfield.  

Pictured: Judah Fansler, Everyone Who Believes, 2003; woodcut, etching and screenprint. Courtesy of the artist.



Hooves, Tails, and Claws: Audubon's Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America

February 1, - June 22, 2014

Spratlen & Eldrege Galleries

Associated Events:

  • Opening Reception, hosted by FOSAM|Friday, January 31, 2014 (5:30-7:00 PM)
  • Gallery Talk|Saturday, February 1, 2014 (2 PM, Eldredge/Spratlen Galleries)
    Julie Dunn-Morton, Curator of Fine Arts at the St. Louis Mercantile Library will give a talk about Audubon and this amazing portfolio.

Audubon ocelotFollowing the success of his Birds of America, John James Audubon began to gather material for an equally ambitious project to document the animal life of North America. The result of the artist-naturalist’s years of research and field study was the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. Created in collaboration with the Reverend John Bachman of Charleston, South Carolina, who wrote much of the scientific text, this outstanding work is still considered some of the finest animal prints published in America and is a superb example of color lithography. Audubon’s sons were also instrumental in the completion of this portfolio and John Woodhouse is credited for many of the later plates as his father’s health declined during the completion of the project. Audubon included many frontier animals never before depicted, and his landmark publication helped foster a public appreciation of American nature.

This exhibit presents a selection of prints from the portfolio, on loan from the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Of particular interest will be the pairing of the Museum’s own original oil on canvas of Richardson’s Meadow Mouse, completed by Audubon’s son, John Woodhouse Audubon, with the color lithograph of the same. Visitors will also be able to compare and contrast two trial proofs from the Birds of America portfolio to discover the changes that were made as the work was finalized for public distribution.

Julie Dunn-Morton, Curator of Fine Arts at the St. Louis Mercantile Library will give a gallery talk about Audubon and this amazing portfolio on February 1 at 2:00 p.m.

Pictured: John Woodhouse Audubon, Ocelot, or Leopard Cat, No. 18 LXXXVI. Courtesy of the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.



American Abstraction: Watercolors from the Permanent Collection

September 7, 2013

Armstrong Gallery

Sam Francis, untitled

Watercolor is a uniquely challenging medium, known for its unpredictability. The accomplished watercolorist must learn to take advantage of unexpected results and to embrace spontaneity. This makes the medium ideally suited for painting abstractly, where chance and improvisation are nearly as important as color, line, and form.

Though contemporary watercolorists have overwhelmingly shifted toward a crisp, realist style, a notable contingency of painters still work abstractly in the medium. Artists such as Paul Jenkins and Lawrence Goldsmith began to relinquish the tight control mastered by the Photorealists, preferring to work in bold, colorfully expressive washes. Sam Francis applied the stylistic and psychological tenets of Abstract Expressionism – all-over painting, lack of perspective, and automatism – to watercolor, with splatters and drips intended to uncover the expressions of the unconscious mind.

This exhibition is the first in a series, focusing on various artists, styles and trends, pulled exclusively from the Springfield Art Museum’s outstanding collection of contemporary American aquamedia.

Pictured: Sam Francis, Untitled, 1973, acrylic on paper.

Creating an American Identity

July 27, 2013 (Ongoing Permanent Installation)

Musgrave Wing Galleries

The Springfield Art Museum permanent collection contains over 9,000 works in a highly variegated range of media. The Museum has been collecting since its incorporation in 1928 with its very first work, a landscape by Philadelphia artist, Mary Butler. With this painting, the Museum inaugurated its collection with a predominant focus on American art from the 18th century onward; however, over the years and due to the increasingly diverse patronage of the Museum, the collection has broadened to include a variety of work spanning multiple time periods and cultures.

Mary Butler, The King, Isterdalen, Norway, early 20th century, oil on board

When viewed together, the diversity of the artwork in these galleries all hearken back to a single theme – the forging of an American character. Our history was built upon a foundation of plentiful land and the merging of multiple cultures. These key works represent a cross section of the collection, with a particular emphasis on the ways that they reflect our country’s history as it developed its own unique identity.

The exhibit will feature a reinstallation of the Springfield Art Museum’s permanent collection and will include major works by George Caleb Bingham, Asher B. Durand, Jackson Pollock, Grandma Moses, Robert Motherwell, Wayne Thiebaud, and Alison Saar.

Pictured: Mary Butler, The King, Isterdalen, Norway, early 20th century, oil on board.

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