Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Transending Vision - Orlando Museum of Art

Band of America and Brokers from from Merrill Lynch gathered in the lobby of the Orlando Museum of Arts for a gathering in honor of the new show at the museum which is on loan from Bank of America. Bank of America started gathering the painting in the collection as far back as 1904. The paintings were gathered from over 3000 regional banks and thus show work gathered from artists all over the country.
Transcending Vision: American Impressionism follows the influence French Impressionism had on American artists from 1870 to 1940. Also on hand were works from the Hudson River School and the American Barbizon Schools of art. The paintings showed the development of landscape painting as an important feature of American art from the 19th to the mid 20th century. Landscape paintings also helped document this countries growth as settlers pushed west.
When I finished sketching the corporate mingling going on in the lobby, I went to the back rooms where these paintings are on display. It was refreshing to see so many paintings all in one place. The museum has a small permanent collection but lets face it the Orlando Museum of Art isn't like walking into the Met or Chicago Art Institute. The paintings were technically great but even in a large museum, if I see too many landscapes all in one place, I glaze over. Landscapes are a dime a dozen to me. I miss the human element, the unexpected flash that comes the second a human enters and influences the landscape. As I was jotting down notes, Jodie Hardman, a Bank of America Marketing Manager, came over and introduced herself. She was curious about my work so I gave her a sketchbook to flip through. She then pulled out her iPhone and sent me a press release which gave me all the background information about the exhibit. That small technical wonder certainly made my job easier.
I examined the paintings up close. Sometimes the brush strokes were thick, juicy and delicious like frosting. The subject matter didn't interest me that much but when I got close and examined the inner life of the paintings the tangled and twisted abstract world of brush work, I was excited and intrigued. The show left me wanting to work on large canvases.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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