'Homage To Thomas,' Photographic Splendor Sure To Impress

For those who find pleasure gazing upon art that ignites curiosity, awe, and emotion, the upcoming show at Central Methodist University’s Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art is a “can’t miss.”

“Homage To Thomas” – a collection of impressive works in a variety of mediums by the late Tom Yancey, one of Central’s most talented, iconic, and longest-tenured faculty, and “Photographic Splendor” – an array of beautiful and unique photographs by Debra Johnson of Glasgow, will debut during an opening reception from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 28 in the Gallery at Classic Hall on CMU’s campus in Fayette.

The Gallery is open Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., and the show will run through July 18.

Yancey, a Marshall native and resident of Fayette since 1958, passed away on Feb. 25. He was a talented, self-taught artist and beloved former CMU faculty member. He was professor emeritus of art and music, retiring in 1995 after 37 years. During that time, he taught piano, organ, and music theory, as well as art history, pop art, and art education.

EmeraudeAdditionally, he and Dr. Joe Geist were co-founders of the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art in 1993. He served as curator of both the Gallery and Stephens Museum/Gallery of Art from 1993 to 1998. At that time, he opened an art studio in downtown Fayette. He continued to paint but also became known as a very successful restoration artist. His restoration work became very sought-after throughout Mid-Missouri, including special work at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Yancey was well-known among Missouri artists and established an impressive reputation as an award winner for his artistic abilities and unique creativity. Among his accolades was the Curator Scholar Award, which opened a door for participation in the 1991 Summer Art Study Program in Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary.

His award-winning painting, “The Guardian Angel,” was featured in the Spiva Art Show in Joplin. His works also have appeared in exhibitions at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Tri-State Annual Juried Art Show in Quincy, Ill., Pratt (Kansas) Community College, Columbia Art League’s Whimsy Art Show, and Art in the Woods in Overland Park, Kan., to name a few.

Among those that will be featured in the upcoming show are “Emeraude” (oil), “Eight Blue Clowns” (acrylic), “Elizabeth Ferguson House” (acrylic), “Images From The Past,” (ink and watercolor), and “Homage To Caravaggio” (colored pencil).

Village on the BankJohnson, a Glasgow native, also is a self-taught artist. She found her passion for photography approximately 15 years ago during a time of transition and turmoil in her personal life. According to Johnson, photography gave her an outlet and the ability to focus on the many joys and blessings that surrounded her every day.

Glasgow has been Johnson’s home her entire life. It is where she raised her family and worked multiple jobs – including being a special education teacher for 23 years. It is where she found inspiration in the history and beauty of the rolling hills. It is where she said she finds faith, purpose, and a meaning to her life.

Johnson began sharing her photography with the public about seven years ago thanks to the encouragement of Laura Kohnen, who manages Zia’s Art Gallery in New Haven. Her art has been displayed in numerous places including Market Street Floral and Riverport Market in Glasgow, Grey Willows and Paisley BowTique and Floral Design in Fayette, and the Art House in Fulton. She has received awards in the Howard County Festival of the Arts the last three out of four years, and also has a gallery in her home where she conducts open houses.

Johnson said her passion is capturing the light in landscapes, architecture, and portraits – preserving memories and moments in time. The emotions her photos stir up in her always amaze her – they never get old and she continues to revisit the joy they bring her, she said.

At the Gallery, among the photos displayed by Johnson will be “God’s Path,” “Irish Doors,” “Skipping Through Lavender Fields, Door County, Wisconsin,” “Ready, Set, Go,” and “Fencing in 

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