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Erie Art Museum

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Hidden in Plain Sight: Art Treasures from Regional Collections on Exhibit in the Main Gallery of the Erie Art Museum

Erie, PA, October 22, 2010 --( To celebrate the grand opening of its new galleries, the Erie Art Museum presents an exhibition of regional treasures, October 23, 2010 through April 3, 2011 in the main gallery of the new expansion, featuring works from regional institutional collections throughout northwest Pennsylvania and southwest New York. On loan from these collections are pieces from small museums, historical societies, colleges, libraries, and other institutions with magnificent works often unknown even to their local audiences, let alone the larger region.

The treasures exhibition features sculptures, paintings, drawings, Native American artifacts, furniture and more. Highlights include works by American artists Benjamin West, Angelica Kauffman, Gilbert Stuart, Ralph Albert Blakelock, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Thomas Hart Benton, Adolf Dehn and many others. Native American works include a rare, early Navajo serape, a painted parfleche and a set of ledger drawings. Works created in the region include a portrait done by John James Audubon during a sojourn to Meadville, a collection of carved and painted folk art birds by a Crawford County farmer and sculptures by Marion Sanford. Crafts enthusiasts will enjoy Japanese pottery and baskets, a Calder weaving, a Wendell Castle table, sculptural ceramics by Daniel Rhodes and Ken Ferguson, and an unusual late 18th century Windsor chair. Many of these objects have never been exhibited outside of their home institutions; some have never been exhibited at all.

Showcased in the Bacon Gallery, the link connecting the Customs House and the new expansion, is Auto-Intervention: Paintings by Chris Mars, on view from October 23 through January 23, 2011. Perhaps better known as the former drummer of The Replacements, Mars abandoned a highly successful career as a rock musician to paint haunting images of forsaken creatures, “monsters” with grey skin and unnaturally red lips, skeletons with flesh clinging to their skulls, misfits with moist and piercing eyes. His creatures populate a spooky world where trees are bent and twisted in the wind, the sky is smoky or stormy and the buildings are haunted houses from some indefinite time in the past.

Through this fascinating imagery—which simultaneously draws its viewer in and repels him—Mars seeks to “create a voice for the voiceless; to offer love to the unloved and mercy to the condemned and banished.” The artist developed a deep personal connection to people with mental illness through his childhood experiences of his own brother’s struggle with schizophrenia and the effects of its treatment.

Mars’ works are in the permanent collections of the Erie Art Museum, Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Tweed Museum of Art, Longview Museum of Fine Arts, The Minnesota History Center, the American Visionary Art Museum, Mesa Contemporary Arts and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The exhibit is sponsored in part by Stairways Behavioral Health.

The Holstein Gallery, formerly the Frame Shop Gallery, will house Lee Rexrode: Emerging Forms in Ceramics from October 15, 2010 through January 15, 2011. His vessels embody simplicity and clarity. Rexrode’s travels and teaching experience have reinforced this pursuit of formal simplicity. In 2001, a lecture tour to several Chinese institutions allowed him to research contemporary and historical Chinese ceramics—the inspiration for clay artists the world over for centuries. He has also traveled in Spain and Portugal, where he studied Iberian architecture and the unique ceramic tiles that adorn it.

Rexrode earned his Master of Fine Arts degree at Rochester Institute of Technology and has been teaching ceramics for the past 28 years. He is currently Professor of Ceramics at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

A public reception of all three exhibitions will be held during Gallery Night, Friday, December 3, 2010 from 7 - 10 p.m.

About the Erie Art Museum
The Erie Art Museum anchors downtown Erie’s cultural and economic revitalization, occupying a group of restored mid-19th century commercial buildings and a modern, ‘Green,’ 10,500 square foot expansion. The newly expanded Museum marks the first LEED-certified building in the region, soon to be complete with a planted rooftop.

The Museum maintains an ambitious program of changing exhibitions annually, embracing a wide range of subjects, both historical and contemporary and including folk art, contemporary craft, multi-disciplinary installations, community-based work, as well as traditional media.

The Erie Art Museum also holds a collection of over 6,000 objects, which includes significant works in American ceramics, Tibetan painting, Indian bronzes, contemporary baskets, and a variety of other categories.

The Museum offers a wide range of education programs and artists’ services including interdisciplinary and interactive school tours and a wide variety of classes for the community. Performing arts are showcased in the 25-year-old Contemporary Music Series, which represents national and international performers of serious music with an emphasis on composer/performers, and a popular annual two-day Blues & Jazz Festival.

The Erie Art Museum, café, and gift shop is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. For additional visitor information, visit online at or call 814-459-5477.

Contact Information
Erie Art Museum
Carolyn Eller

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