From Andy Warhol to Pablo Picasso, some of the world's best-known artists are represented in a summer exhibition at the Radford University Art Museum.
On display with free admission through July 24 are selections from the museum's permanent collection, chosen to reflect the rich variation of works in the 1,250 pieces it comprises. Recent contemporary acquisitions are displayed alongside timeless pieces from acclaimed artists, including Dorothy Gillespie, Adolf Dehn and Jasper Johns. The collection also includes 277 works by students.
The most recent acquisitions are "Summer (Blue)" by Jasper Johns, 1985-1991; and "Who Does Not Wear A Mask?" by George Rouault, 1923. Radford acquired both pieces in 2012. The oldest work in the collection is a Tibetan painting on silk, possibly from the 13th century.
Touring the gallery recently, RU art student Matthew Jesinsky said his eyes were immediately drawn to satirical artist Tom Huck’s 2007 woodcut print, "Pork Chop Suey—Oinktoberfest."
The imagery of Huck's painting works on several levels, Jesinsky said, providing a feast for the eyes.
"I found this to be a very interesting work," Jesinsky said. "I love barbecues, but I have never seen a barbecue depicted like this before. I found that to be pretty cool."
Steve Arbury, director of the RU Art Museum, said he is most captivated by the 1975 yarn painting "Tatei Yurienaka with Tsakay-muka" by Tiburcio Carrillo Sandoval, known as Tutukila. The piece is composed of wool yarn with wax on wood.
Arbury described the process of yarn painting. "The artist smears one face of a plywood board with beeswax and then—using his thumbnails—presses strands of colored yarn into the waxed surface," he said. "From a distance it looks like a regular painting, but when you get up close, you see the individual strands of yarn and are bowled over."
Donated to the museum by the Kolla-Landwehr Foundation Collection of Huichol Art, the piece holds special meaning for Arbury.
"I like this work because of its personal subject matter, its bright, almost fluorescent colors and its incredibly interesting technique," he said. "The religious life of the Huichol people in Mexico is reflected in this type of art, which depicts tribal mythology and oral histories according to each artist’s personal experience, visions and stylistic expression."
The Radford University Art Museum at the Covington Center for Visual and Performing Arts is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (540) 831-5754.