WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College Friends of Visual Arts and the Barton Art Galleries will welcome J. Chris Wilson, artist and art professor at Barton College, to lecture on the legendary North Carolina native Hobson Pittman and his paintings on Tuesday, Oct.20, at 2 p.m. The event will be held in the Lula E. Rackley Gallery in the Case Art Building on campus. The event is open to the public at no charge, and the community is encouraged to attend.

Originally by invitation only for the Friends of Visual Arts, this program has been opened to the general public because of increased interest in the “Hobson Pittman: At Home & Work” exhibition currently on view at Barton College. The exhibition will be on display in the Lula E. Rackley Gallery until Friday, Oct. 30.  Gallery hours are Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the exception of holidays. For additional information, please contact Gérard Lange, director of exhibitions, at 252-399-6475 or email: glange@barton.edu.

Hobson Pittman -
Born in the rural Edgecombe community of Epworth near Leggett in 1899, Pittman showed artistic promise at a very early age and was encouraged to pursue his creative talent by his first art instructor, Molly Rouse. He attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1925, continuing his studies at Columbia University. In 1928, Pittman was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and traveled to Europe for the first time, where he visited major art museums and completed a series of watercolors. From that point forward, Pittman traveled between the United States, Europe, and the Orient, teaching and studying painting.

Although he never lived in Edgecombe County again, Pittman took the memories of his home-place with him. Often devoid of people, these paintings of spacious Victorian rooms and southern gardens are romantic and nostalgic, and hearken the sense of a distant memory. “He often would exaggerate the massive windows and doorways he remembered from his childhood, that seemed larger than life,” shared Buddy Hooks, director of the Hobson Pittman Memorial Gallery in Tarboro. The stark wooden homes with 10 and 12-foot ceilings, enormous doors and windows provided strong elements to mix with Pittman’s imagination creating compelling and somewhat mysterious scenes. Pittman once shared, “I have always been interested in painting things of the past – things I have loved and still do. Things I feel and understand.” The quiet ambiance of the scenes is often deafening in the solitude, which is depicted. Charged by the subtle mix of interior and exterior lighting, one gets a sense that the world has stopped turning in a moment where a youthful recollection is pondered by a mature mind.

From the late 1950s until the end of his life, Pittman used a riotous palette of color. Throughout the course of his life, blue-greys, fawns and taupes, muted greens and wines gave way to tangerine, watermelon, turquoise, hot gold and chartreuse. Likewise, his subject matter waxed and waned covering all sorts of styles and genre. It was for his floral still lives that Pittman won notoriety in the 1920s and 1930s. In these canvasses, one can sense the influences of Henry McFee, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Fernand Lèger, and the German Expressionists. “If I have made any contributions to painting, I firmly attribute it to a concentrated study of the masters,” said Pittman. “I try very hard not to be biased in my opinions or in my appreciation, but to be tolerant of all types and periods of good painting.”

Pittman earned high regard throughout the United States for his oils, pastels, and watercolors. He was also considered one of the best art instructors in the nation and was sought by numerous colleges, universities, and art organizations to lecture and teach.

Pittman’s career was sparked by numerous awards, and his works are included in many public collections including the Corcoran Gallery and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the Philadelphia Museum and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. Works in this exhibition are on loan from the Hobson Pittman Memorial Gallery, located within the Blount-Bridgers House in Tarboro.

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Questions?  Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email: kdaughety@barton.edu.

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