ROCK HILL, S.C. - As the fall 2010 Winthrop University Galleries season comes to a close, there is still an opportunity to see the first major retrospective on the artwork of Precisionist painter and prominent Rock Hill figure Edmund Lewandowski (1914-98).
"Edmund Lewandowski – Precisionism and Beyond," organized by the Flint Institute of Arts in Flint, Mich., continues through Dec. 9 at Rutledge and Patrick Galleries. Guest curated by Dr. Valerie Leeds, the Flint Institute’s adjunct curator of American art, the retrospective opened Sept. 6 and contains approximately 45 works loaned from private collections, museums and galleries across the U.S. The show spans Lewandowski’s extensive career as a Precisionist painter, from his early art in the Midwest to work he created during his later years as chair of Winthrop’s Department of Art and Design (1973-84), an art educator and mentor.
The retrospective has been supported by funding from Williams and Fudge, Inc. of Rock Hill. Other donors contributed to the three-month show as well. The Galleries, as well as many of the programs sponsored by Winthrop’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, are made possible through donor support, noted David Wohl, dean of CVPA.
"One of the principle goals of the Winthrop University Galleries is to enrich the diverse cultural life in York, Mecklenburg and surrounding counties of the Carolinas. The support of patrons like Williams and Fudge, Inc. and many individual donors help strengthen the link between Winthrop and the community," said Wohl.
Since its opening, "Edmund Lewandowski – Precisionism and Beyond" has led Lewandowski’s former students and friends, like Mary Lynn Norton ’81, to discover works they’d seen only in slides. Now facilities rental manager for the Culture and Heritage Museums in York County, Norton worked with Lewandowski at Winthrop while she pursued a bachelor’s degree in visual arts.
Norton believes that the retrospective is a fitting tribute to the artist and friend she got to know during her undergraduate years – a tribute that everyone in the community needs to see.
"Students who studied with Ed need to make every effort to see the exhibit before it travels to its next location. Fine arts students at Winthrop need to experience his career through viewing the different genres of art he depicted. The community needs to see what a treasure and talented artist Big Ed actually was and how he helped to foster Winthrop University’s fine arts program," said Norton, who has curated two of Lewandowski’s local exhibitions – one at the York County Museum and the other for the Rock Hill Arts Council.
Terry Plumb, former editor of The (Rock Hill) Herald who knew Lewandowski and owns one of his watercolors, described the exhibition as "outstanding" and "superbly curated." In fact, the show even moved him to write a column about "Precisionism and Beyond" and Lewandowski’s importance to the Precisionist movement and the Rock Hill community.
Plumb noted that the exhibition captures Lewandowski’s understanding of Rock Hill’s long history with textiles and Winthrop.
"Rock Hill, which is not an old city by S.C. standards, stands on two historical pillars: the textile industry and Winthrop. Ed Lewandowski had a leg on each pillar. This retrospective makes that clear, and it is a shame that everyone who cares about Rock Hill hasn’t seen it," he said.
Winthrop University Galleries hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. The Galleries will be closed Dec. 10, 2010-Jan. 7, 2011. For more information, contact Karen Derksen, director of the Galleries, at 803/323-2493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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