'Art in Autumn' Opens August 29

Lear-header.jpgThe fall semester’s exhibit at the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art is bringing some local flavor to the campus of Central Methodist University. The “Art in Autumn” show, opening August 29, will feature Columbia College professors Naomi Sugino Lear and Bo Bedilion, along with highlights from the Bill and Martha Holman Collection.

Lear’s exhibit, titled “Overlooked,” will be in Gallery One. It features a number of cityscape paintings in which Lear depicts multiple views of the same picture plane.

“I found myself emphasizing certain characteristics of my subjects through different paint applications, general brushwork, value and color contrast, as well as the abstraction or simplification of shapes,” said Lear.

Born in Ishioka, Japan, Lear came to the United States as a teenager. She went on to study arts and music at Eastern Illinois University and earned a master’s degree in fine arts from Wichita State University. Lear teaches drawing and painting at Columbia College and actively paints on the side from her Columbia studio. Her work, which in her words challenges her perception of aesthetics by looking for beauty in the ordinary, has been featured in regional and national shows and has received several awards.

“I plan to continue examining the environments that surround me each day, exploring many new challenges to my personal perspective,” said Lear. “In this series of paintings, I have focused on everyday scenes that pass in our periphery and looked to highlight interesting arrangements of shapes or the organization of picture planes that emerge even from the subject matters that we do not usually think of as picturesque.”

The work in Gallery Three for the “Art in Autumn” show features the pottery and ceramics of Bo Bedilion. Also an art professor at CC, he teaches ceramics and 3-D design, in addition to his duties as the director of the Greg Hardwick Gallery on campus.

Oval-Vase.jpgBedilion’s exhibit is titled “Polka Dot Pottery Blues,” and features multiple large displays of ceramic plates and dozens of other ceramic pots, vases, and cups. While on display, the plates appear to create scenes of mountain ranges or snowfalls, but individually they are still functional dishes.

Bedilion, who began making pottery in high school, describes his work as highly “technical.”

“I do this layering method, and it’s a process I’ve been working on since 2010,” he said. “I first cover the whole piece in white glaze, and then whenever I want the glaze to stay [and create a shape], I put wax over the top. That wax will dry and then I wash it away, then I dip it in the second color, add the wax, and carve through. It’s building up layers of glaze, but not overlapping.”

Almost the entirety of Bedilion’s exhibit in the Ashby-Hodge Gallery was made this year, while the world continues to be affected by COVID-19, which ended up playing a role in the naming of the show. The non-uniform circle shape the artist had been using to portray snow or rain was repeatedly mistaken for polka dots, leading him to an interesting parallel in his research.

“When I was investigating the history of polka dots, it was kind of serendipitous to hear that during the Middle Ages and the black plague, a warning sign for others to stay away would be to wear polka dots,” said Bedilion. “And I had made all of this during COVID. It all just came together even though it wasn’t what I was thinking about when I was making them."

Visitors to the Gallery can check out “Polka Dot Pottery Blues,” “Overlooked,” and highlights of the Holman collection this fall from August 29 through November 11. The Gallery is open from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday on the first floor of Classic Hall. Special tours are also available by contacting curator Denise Haskamp at 660-248-6304 or dhaskamp@centralmethodist.edu. All visitors are required to wear face coverings.

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