Visit FUAM and participate in events for two current exhibits: Picturing History: Ledger Drawings of the Plains Indians and Richard Lytle: A Retrospective
Picturing History: Ledger Drawings of the Plains Indians is on view now until Wednesday, December 20, 2017, in the museum’s Bellarmine Hall Galleries at Fairfield University.
The exhibition features over 50 extraordinarily rich and distinctive drawings created by Plains Indian artists in the second half of the 19th century. Executed in ink, graphite, colored pencil, and watercolor, these striking images chronicle battles, rituals, and winsome if sometimes jarring events of everyday life. Known as Ledger Drawings because they were done on the pages of commercially produced account books, each depiction showcases the artists’ acute powers of observation and their ambition to eloquently picture and record history as it transpired.
Both the graphic media and materials, as well as the function and absorbing subject matter align these works with the centuries-long European tradition of drawing “stories” taken from the Bible, history, mythology, political and military deeds, and even the simple routines of domestic life. Picturing History presents these works of the Plains Indian people as graphic masterpieces warranting a place in the long and rich history of drawing.
Image Credit: Attributed to Howling Wolf (Southern Cheyenne, Central Plains), Cheyenne Attacking a Pawnee Camp (Ledger Drawing), ca. 1875-78. Watercolor, graphite and colored pencil on paper. Private collection, courtesy of Donald Ellis Gallery, New York.
Richard Lytle: A Retrospective, is on display now through Saturday, February 3, 2018, in the museum’s Walsh Gallery in the Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University.
Mastery of color is a hallmark of Lytle’s paintings and drawings, which are inspired by the organic world and range from realist to abstraction. His dreamlike images move across spaces suggestive of landscapes, often in joyful biomorphic abstraction. Some focus on plants and natural shapes that are magnified beyond recognition, while others include elements chosen by the artist for their sensuous colors and patterning.
A graduate of Yale who earned a BFA in 1957 and an MFA in 1960, Richard Lytle (American, b. 1935) has been exhibiting his work internationally since the mid-1950s. He has received many prestigious awards including the Saint-Gaudens Medal and the Citation for Professional Achievement from Cooper Union.
Richard Lytle’s connection to Fairfield University dates back to a commission he received for drawings for the exterior bas-relief sculptures for the Barone Campus Center in 1965. The sculptures are now visible inside and on the exterior of the new Tully Dining Commons building. Organized as part of the celebration of Fairfield University’s 75th anniversary, this retrospective is a celebration of that long relationship. It includes Lytle’s original drawings for the bas-reliefs—a recent gift to the museum from the artist—early charcoal drawings from the 1960s Nude Figures Series, a selection of Pod Series drawings from the 1970s, as well as watercolors and large oil paintings spanning the breadth of Lytle’s career.