VALPARAISO, Ind. – Works by a prominent Chicago painter and a Northwest Indiana native’s yearlong journey to capture images of life in small towns across the United States will be featured at Valparaiso University’s Brauer Museum of Art this winter.
 
Opening Dec. 3 are “Recent Views of an Inner World: Paintings by Richard Loving” and “Boonville: Photographs by Timothy Briner.” Both exhibits will be on display through March 20 at the Brauer Museum (www.valpo.edu/artmuseum).
 
“Recent Views of an Inner World”

Richard Loving, a longtime Chicago artist and venerated painting professor from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is known for the spiritual and luminous style of his paintings, says Gregg Hertzlieb, director of Brauer Museum. The upcoming exhibit will feature 21 Loving paintings and will be the first public showing of works incorporating the artist’s new representational style as it has developed over the past five years.

“Loving is known as an abstract painter, but lately he has been working more representational images into his work,” Hertzlieb said. “I truly think this is the best work he’s ever done. People will be struck by the natural beauty of the Loving’s paintings as well as the imagination behind them.”

In the exhibit, Loving’s art mixes the abstract patterning for which he is known with a realistic treatment of natural subjects such as flowers and trees. Cycles of nature, such as the changing seasons, are one of the major themes in “Recent Views of an Inner World,” Hertzlieb said.
 
Hertzlieb said Loving has been a significant influence for contemporary Chicago artists, bridging the emergence of both abstraction and imagism styles of painting during the past 40 years. His artwork has been exhibited at numerous Chicago area galleries and beyond and is held in the collections of many museums and corporations.
 
“He’s a significant figure in the history of art in the Chicago region, and Loving is fascinating because his art continues to evolve and make an impact even more than half a century after he began his career,” Hertzlieb said.
 
“Boonville”
 
The photographic series “Boonville,” shot by Briner over the course of 11 months during 2007-2008, chronicles the Chesterton High School graduate’s journey across the country to towns named Boonville in six states.
 
Hertzlieb said Briner’s photographs document aspects of American life in towns that share not only the same name, but also similar struggles such as migration to larger cities.  A collection of 19 black and white photographs show farmers, hunters, American flags, worn-down buildings, open fields and the activities of daily life in each town.
 
“Briner saw these various Boonvilles as representative of ‘Everytown, U.S.A’,” Hertzlieb said. “His photographs capture small town life and the people living in small towns who are not necessarily at their most glamorous or who, sometimes, are really down on their luck, yet there’s a real honesty and lack of guile in these people.”
 
As Briner journeyed from one Boonville to the next, he would find a local resident to live with over the course of several weeks as he immersed himself into the community’s daily activities.
 
“At times, Briner captured images that are so unusual they seem almost magical, but there is also a side to these photographs that is very familiar and it’s this paradox that makes the exhibition so interesting,” Hertzlieb said. “Brauer Museum is interested in supporting young emerging artists who are gaining national interest, and I believe seeing Briner’s work will be inspiring to young artists here on campus and in the community.” 

Exhibition Events

An opening reception for “Recent Views of an Inner World” and “Boonville” will take place Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. Loving will present a gallery talk at the museum on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m., while a coffee hour conversation with Briner is scheduled for Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.
 
All of the events will be held at Brauer Museum and are free and open to the public.

More information about Brauer Museum’s 2010-2011 season, including a complete list of exhibition-related events, is available online at www.valpo.edu/artmuseum. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday during the academic year, which begins Aug. 23. Current summer hours at the museum are Tuesday through Sunday: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. (closed Mondays). Admission to the museum and all events is free. Group tours may be arranged by calling (219) 465-7926.