Sloan Paintings Highlight 'Winter Wonders'

Problems-Solutions.jpgThe Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art on the campus of Central Methodist University will be ending the cold month of January by bringing a collection of warm and vibrant colors to Fayette with the “Winter Wonders” collection, featuring the art of Mary K Sloan (1924-2014).

Opening January 31 and running through April 1, the exhibit will be filled with a collection of more than 30 of her oil and acrylic paintings, which have been managed by Amy Dawkins of Columbia since the two became friends. Dawkins, a fellow painter who fondly speaks of both Sloan and her art, began taking care of the paintings around 2000, when a flood in Sloan’s basement made it necessary to remove them. Since then, she has been restoring, framing, and rotating the paintings for display at the Parkade Plaza.

Sloan’s passion for painting stayed strong throughout her whole life, from her early years after being born in Denton, Texas, through receiving her BFA with honors from the University of Texas in 1953 and MFA from the University of Guanajuato (Mexico) in 1965, and in the later years of her life in assisted living in Florida. Her contributions to the art world didn’t stop at painting, either. Sloan also taught at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi and later operated her own galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Dallas. She also showed versatility in her art, working in acrylic, oil, watercolor, ink, fabric, jewelry, and glass mosaic.

Even after a devastating stroke paralyzed her right side, the Texas native never stopped painting. Instead she learned to paint left-handed and once won first place in a mixed media show for people with disabilities. Several of her post-stroke paintings will be on display at the Ashby-Hodge show.

One theme of Sloan’s work that remained the same through all the phases of her life was the focus on the splendor of nature and creation.

“The order and disorder of nature help to give direction to my existence and under this influence, I try to search beyond the realm of intellectual logic to create that which seems to me to under-gird life, continuing to search for feelings that must be expressed,” Sloan said in an artist statement titled Discovery, in which her words are just as artful as her paintings.

Sloan’s prolific work earned her more than 60 awards in state and national competitions, including from the American Federation of Art in New York City and Washington, D.C. Her pieces are also included in many private and permanent collections, such as the Witte Museum in San Antonio, the Howard Hughes Collection, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

Sloan’s paintings – along with art by 27 CMU alumni in Galleries 1 and 2 – will be available to view at Ashby-Hodge from January 31 to April 1, open from 1:30-4:30 p.m. every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday on the first floor of Classic Hall. Special tours are available by contacting curator Denise Haskamp at 660-248-6304 or Social distancing is practiced in the Gallery, and all visitors are required to wear face coverings.

For more on Sloan’s life and work, visit

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