COLUMBIA - Tough times often inspire art. That's true of "Missouri Through Lens and Palette," a new exhibit in MU's Museum of Art and Archaeology that juxtaposes paintings from the past 100 years and post-1948 photographs from the Missouri Photo Workshop.
The exhibit was timed to open just before the Missouri School of Journalism's centennial celebration, which began Wednesday. Part of what the exhibit captures is the feel of rural life that comes through examples from the Regionalist movement championed by Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton. The details of small-town life pop through his lithograph and the paintings of other artists such as Georges Schreiber and Charles Morgenthaler on display.
WHAT: "Missouri through Lens and Palette," an exhibit of paintings and photographs
WHEN: Through Dec. 24. Gallery hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
WHERE: Museum of Art and Archaeology, Pickard Hall, Ninth Street and University Avenue, Francis Quadrangle, MU
MORE INFORMATION: maa.missouri.edu/
Photographs from the workshop do the same; each year, photographers spend a week documenting a different Missouri community.
Missouri Photo Workshop founder Clifton C. Edom was inspired by the documentary photo unit of the Depression-era Farm Security Administration to create a workshop that would capture rural life as it happens. The workshop still operates under Edom's credo, "Show truth with a camera. Ideally truth is a matter of personal integrity. In no circumstances will a posed or fake photograph be tolerated."
Regionalist Jackson Lee Nesbitt followed the same guiding light when he painted "Farm Auction." The scene was modeled after the auction barn in Independence. Nesbitt first came across the auction barn while on a sketching trip with Benton. He started to frequent the weekly sales and became familiar with the regulars.
"The show has some truly spectacular paintings that have not been previously exhibited," said Mary Pixley, the museum's associate curator of European and American art, who selected the paintings in the exhibition. Works from the university, private collectors, the museum's private collection and works on loan from the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department and the Boone County Historical Society will be on display.
Photos for the exhibit were chosen by David Rees and James Curley, co-directors of the Missouri Photo Workshop. They spent seven or eight months poring over 4,000 photos in the workshop archives, Rees said, chairman of the photojournalism sequence in the School of Journalism. The idea behind the exhibit was to show the similarities and differences of the work done by the documentary photographers and artists associated with the regionalist movement, he said.
Pixley hopes that visitors enjoy the broad portrait of Missouri that has been assembled through painting and documentary photos as much as those who have worked on creating the exhibit.
"We have brought together images from the realms of art and documentary photography to explore the differing visions of Missouri as seen through the lens of the photographer's camera as well as the palette of the artist," Pixley said. "Together, they provide a fuller portrait of the people and land of Missouri - of the life of Missouri - in a way which has not previously been done."