Art collection provides students with exceptional learning opportunity
|Artist Bill White's collection (samples shown) provides a striking perspective on the human figure to visitors of Aughinbaugh Art Gallery.
The Aughinbaugh Art Gallery
recently displayed the largest collection of art ever donated to Messiah College with the exhibit “A Legacy of Form: Bill White
.” The artist’s niece, Eileen White, donated the collection, which was presented to the public from February 18 to March 23. Representative of White’s entire body of work, the collection contains 135 wax, plaster, and clay maquettes and cast sculptures, and more than 500 drawings. White’s work is exhibited in institutions such as the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester and the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Because the collection also includes White’s preparatory drawings and models, art critic Maureen Mullarkey
considers Messiah’s acquisition of this collection a remarkable advantage for instructing students. “Sculpture depends on drawing to such an extent,” says Mullarkey, “that some teaching circles insist that sculpture students need to draw even more than students of painting.”
To introduce the extensive collection, Messiah displayed the artwork at various locations around campus. The College also hosted a lecture and reception, held in Climenhaga Fine Arts Center on February 25, to recognize Bill White and his legacy. Internationally renowned American contemporary realist painter Philip Pearlstein spoke on the role of observation in the formation of art.
, distinguished professor of art and longtime friend of White, first introduced White’s art to Messiah in 1982. “Bill worked within the long, demanding tradition of the human figure,” Prescott says. “It was his legacy to master that tradition and leave us a body of work that is, by turns, simple, keenly felt, beautiful, and profound.”
—Jonathan Vaitl '06