At Home on Ranch and Farm
An Exhibition of Modern Art
Susan Soriente, Curator
May 16, 2013 through September 10, 2013
Ms. Lux had a lifelong love of Nebraska farming and farmland and she collected prints by numerous artists who portrayed rural life, farm and ranch scenery, laborers, animals and the equipment used in agriculture. In prints, the artist’s view may be a tight snapshot of a scene or a wide panorama of rural life. The sky is almost always included in the image, and weather is often central to the composition. All the elements of the time honored and ancient labor of agriculture may be found and depicted.
Farming is believed to have begun in the Middle East in an area called the Fertile Crescent. This enormous step forward for humanity is also considered the beginning of the Neolithic period at approximately 9000 B.C.E. Through the millennia tools and production have changed enormously but always there are people who feel an affinity for the soil, who live close to the land and revel in the practice of growing plants and animals. Artists also have felt this attraction to the land and the elemental aspect of producing life from the soil. They often have portrayed sweeping views of farmland or homely scenes of rural residents tending crops and caring for animals.
Among the artists in Home on the Range and Farm are Luigi Lucioni who specialized in rural scenes of New England; and Grant Wood along with Thomas Hart Benton who gained fame portraying agricultural scenes of the American plains. In Rainy Day, Benton emphasizes the isolation and dreariness of sodden farmland, a horse, stormy sky and leafless trees with dramatic black lines. Wood’s work chills the viewer with a scene of a snow shrouded field lined with corn shocks on a dark day in January. Additional artists to be seen in the exhibition are Jean Francois Millet, Samuel L.Margolies, and Gladys M. Lux. Of special interest is her 1943 serigraph, Schockers (sic), the central worker is a self-portrait of Ms. Lux with other members of her family gathering sheaves of grain on their farm near Wood River, Nebraska.
Home on the Range and Farm may be seen in the Lux Historical print gallery on the second floor of the LUX Center for the Arts from May 16, 2013 to September 10, 2013. The exhibition is curated by Susan Soriente, Curator of the Gladys M. Lux Print and Historical Collections.