The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith is hosting a watercolor exhibit from the Arkansas Arts Center through Sept. 28.
“Watercolors: Selections from the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection” can be viewed in the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center. The 24-piece exhibit features works dating from the 1950s through the 1990s, according to Keith Melton, assistant registrar at the Arkansas Arts Center.
“Along with two of Arkansas’ most heralded artists, George Dombek and William McNamara, are works by Josephine Graham and Doris Williamson Mapes, two of the founding members of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists, a group founded in Little Rock in 1970 to promote the stature of watercolor painting,” said Melton.
Dombek is from Fayetteville, Graham and Mapes are from Little Rock and McNamara is from Cave Mountain, Ark.
Other Arkansans with work in the exhibit include Ann Downs of Magnolia and Charlotte Glover and Mayme Heard Hostetter, both of El Dorado. The exhibit also includes work by artists from California, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, as well as pieces by artists from England and Italy.
“The Arkansas Arts Center holds an internationally recognized drawing collection,” said Melton. “It defines a drawing as ‘a unique work of art on paper.’ Watercolor fits nicely into this definition, since it often bridges a gap between traditional line drawings and painting with a brush. This exhibition is a survey of the artistic directions that artists have taken with watercolor media.”
In addition to watercolor on paper, the exhibit includes watercolor and pencil on paper, watercolor and pastel on paper, ink and watercolor on paper, and watercolor over charcoal on paper.
Melton said the watercolor tradition developed as a quick-sketching technique for painters.
“Watercolor studies were often made on location as the medium, and supplies were portable,” he said. “Watercolor served as a way for an artist to quickly capture and make notations about a composition that would later be used as a guide to complete an oil painting in a studio.”
Melton said artists and collections then began to embrace the unique properties of watercolors as finished works.
“The work of renowned artists such as Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth solidified the appreciation of the watercolor medium,” he said.
Local art enthusiasts will enjoy viewing this particular exhibit, according to Stacey Jones of Fort Smith, associate vice chancellor for campusand community events. Jones’ office handles exhibits for the Campus Center.
“To have such a vast array of watercolor paintings available for our community and students to see is really great,” said Jones. “This particular exhibit shows different aspects of watercolor and what we can appreciate when we view each piece. Plus, the range of topics runs the gamut -- portraits, scenes, landscapes, structures, boats, flowers and more.”
Exhibit space is located in the west hallway of the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center. Hours are 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. For more information, call the Campus and Community Events office at 479-788-7300.