Hackney Library is privileged to host two paintings by Barton College’s professor emeritus of art and inaugural artist-in-residence, J. Chris Wilson, from February 18 to April 29. The two works, which are both rendered in oil on canvas, are part of Wilson’s “From Murphy to Manteo—An Artist’s Scenic Journey” collection of paintings. As implied by its title, the series—which the artist envisions will eventually encompass 100 paintings—depicts various scenes along U.S. 64 stretching from the western to the eastern borders of North Carolina.
The two paintings currently displayed along the back wall of Hackney Library near the Office of Student Success are Rainy Day on the Rocky Broad River, Henderson County, (2013) and Study for Looking Down Toxaway Falls, Transylvania County (2007).
Wilson, who served on Barton’s art faculty since 1974 until his 2012 retirement and subsequent appointment as artist-in-residence, has thus far completed over 30 landscapes in the series and plans to finish the 100th by 2014. Currently, 11 paintings from the “From Murphy to Manteo” collection are on display at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. Additional works from the series will be on exhibit at the Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County from March 4 – April 22.
According to a July 28, 2012 article by Betsy Church in the Raleigh News and Observer, the series was inspired by Wilson’s 1995 half-year teaching exchange experience at a university in Nagoya, Japan, where “Wilson was captivated by Japanese serial landscape paintings. He resolved to apply the same idea to his beloved adopted state.” Planning for the series actually began in 2001.
Wilson’s art is the focus of an Our State: North Carolina magazine feature article in the March 2013 issue: “Scenes from 64” by writer Michael Graff. “Our State’s March issue is devoted to the idea of ‘Crossing North Carolina,’” shared Elizabeth Hudson, editor of Our State magazine. “We were interested in exploring how we traverse this state from Murphy to Manteo, and our profile of artist Chris Wilson was a perfect fit. Our story not only describes an artistic journey across North Carolina, but also it reveals Wilson’s personal life journey, as well. We were so proud to publish this compelling portrait of an artist and North Carolina resident who embraces this state from east to west.”
Copies of Our State magazine’s March 2013 issue featuring the article about Wilson are available for browsing in Hackney Library.
Don’t miss this brief, serendipitous opportunity to examine “up close and personal” two of our very own artist-in-residence’s works from this series here in Hackney Library!