WWU exhibit to pay tribute to artist William A. Berry
|10/20/2011||Mary Ann Beahon|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||(573) 592-1127|
William A. Berry was an artist, illustrator, photographer, designer and author. He also was professor emeritus of art and past chair of the art department at the University of Missouri.
Berry died last year, and now William Woods University will pay tribute to him with an exhibit of his work in Mildred M. Cox Gallery of the Gladys Woods Kemper Center for the Arts Oct. 25 - Nov. 20. The Cox Gallery is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Titled “A Life Drawing: The Art of William A. Berry, 1933-2010,” the exhibit constitutes the largest display of Berry’s work and spans the greatest period of time. Many of the works are privately owned and seldom available to the public; some have never before been exhibited.
Valerie Wedel, assistant professor of art at Missouri Valley College, Marshall, Mo., has curated this show in conjunction with Jane Mudd, assistant professor of art at William Woods University. Mudd and two other WWU art professors, Paul Clervi and Terry Martin, studied with Berry while they were students at the University of Missouri.
Wedel has assembled more than 150 of Berry’s works from 1950 to 2008, and she will speak about the exhibit at 3 p.m. Nov. 11 in WWU’s library auditorium, and a reception will follow in the gallery from 4 to 7 p.m.
Known for his pencil figure illustrations and still lifes, Berry earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas and his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Southern California.
In addition to teaching at the University of Missouri, he held academic positions at Boston University, Wesleyan University in Connecticut, the Lacoste School of the Arts in France, and the University of Texas.
Berry joined the University of Missouri faculty in 1978. In 1989, Berry was the recipient of William H. Byler Distinguished Professor Award for outstanding abilities, performance, and character at the University of Missouri. In 1991, he was named Curators’ Professor, the highest honor to be bestowed on a faculty member at the University of Missouri, and only the 11th such award in its 23-year history.
His work has been shown in more than 500 national juried exhibitions and has been awarded prizes in at least 120 juried exhibitions.
Berry was the author of “Drawing the Human Form: Methods, Sources, Concepts,” a widely used textbook on figure illustration. He also worked as an illustrator for Newsweek, The Reporter, Opera News and Esquire.
He was a director, cinematographer and editor who also took still pictures much like he was making a feature narrative film. He began with extensive research on locations and situations that reflected the impact of human occupation on earth and the debris left behind. A constant traveler, he used his research to find the site or just happened upon it.
Berry created several bodies of work exploring ethnographic vistas, such as airplane graveyards in the Mohave Desert; cemeteries in Peru; an active volcanic beach in Italy; and motor home graveyards in Jacumba, Calif.
His subjects also included sexy champagne fights at Nikki beach in St. Tropez; massive land excavations in rural China; the squatter civilization in slab city; and Salvation Mountain in the Salton Sea.
Berry's work represents iconic ideas about the ideal place, the perfect moment, linking them to the history of photography while using digital technology as a new way of representation and as a means of transforming a physical and psychological experience of a place.
The exhibit at William Woods consists of many drawings from life: figure studies, portraits and self portraits. There are also renderings of still life and architectural motifs—in a large format—done in colored pencil with a cross hatching technique.
Illustrations for books and periodical covers will also be on display. In addition there are small oil paintings; preliminary studies for drawings; original pen and ink drawings for spot illustrations, proof sheets, and the final printed illustrations as they appeared in the Reporter Magazine, photographs in black and white and color; late watercolors and collage.
“This show demonstrates the tremendous versatility of the artist—his ability to work in a variety of media, style and techniques,” said Wedel. “It brings new insight into the life and art of William A. Berry.”
For more information about the exhibit, call 573-592-4245.