Points West: Freeport Arts Center opens ‘Working the Edge’ July 14

FREEPORT—Freeport Arts Center (FAC) presents “Working the Edge: the art of Norman Drummond and Michelle Bear,” open to the public from July 14 through Sept. 8.

These artists share a common approach, exploring the boundary between myth and reality, between fantasy and the natural world.

A selection of 13 works by Wisconsin artist Norman Drummond’s vast body of paintings is presented in concert with a collection of mixed media paintings by Michelle Bear.

Born in 1934 in Ohio, Drummond grew up in Charleston, W. Va., and attended college at Ohio State University, where he received his bachelor of arts and master of city planning degrees. Largely a self-taught painter, Drummond took several art courses, including an illustration class at Ohio State taught by Roy Lichtenstein.

Drummond’s work reflects his interest in historical themes, which illustrate human indulgence or discord. He likened our time with that of Hellenistic Greece because of the increasing confusion brought about by rapid social changes and conflicts.

One way he linked his interpretations of historical or mythological subjects to the present was his use of the nude figure. According to Norman, “the nude figure is timeless, while attire is time-specific.”

This exhibition features pieces from his mythic subjects and also several from his “clothing series,” creating a complementary dialog between the unclothed figure and bodiless drapery.

As a particular highlight, the exhibition includes the first painting Drummond completed in 1957. Since his first show in 1976, his work has been shown throughout Wisconsin and Illinois. His work was featured in the 61st Rockford and Vicinity Exhibition at the Rockford Art Museum, and in 1988 “Nudes” exhibition at the Limelight Gallery in Chicago.

Illinois native Bear first exhibited at FAC in 1993 during a time when she worked as a museum assistant. Since then, she has produced a growing body of work that strives to reconnect the viewer to the natural world by recording the surfaces of the earth; it’s “surf and shore, roots and rock.”

Bear’s appreciation for nature began at an early age while playing outdoors, and it continued through her later career as a naturalist in Washington state. Appropriately titled “Sense of Place,” this series is a collection of works whose meanings and identities are tied to a certain “place.”

“Semi-autobiographical in nature” (pun intended), the pieces are derived from the places she lived and worked.

Bear earned a bachelor’s of fine arts degree from Rockford College, and has exhibited her work throughout Illinois and Washington. This exhibition closes Sept. 8.

FAC is at 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, and is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, and noon-5 p.m., Saturday. Tours may be scheduled by calling (815) 235-9755 or e-mailing artscenter@aeroinc.net. For more information, visit freeportartscenter.org.

from the June 20-26, 2007, issue

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