Even after more than 40 years on the Hope College art faculty, Bruce McCombs finds new ways to see the campus, and not only the latest additions but familiar landmarks as well.
It's perspective that will be shared in "Hope College Architecture: An Exhibition of Watercolors," which will open in the gallery of the college's De Pree Art Center on Friday, Oct. 14, conjunction with the college's Homecoming Weekend, and continue through Friday, Nov. 18.
The exhibition, which will feature more than 30 paintings by McCombs, will begin with a reception in the gallery on Friday, Oct. 14, from 5 to 6 p.m. and will continue through Friday, Nov. 18. McCombs will also give an artist talk in the De Pree Art Center on Friday, Oct. 14, at 4:30 p.m.
The public is invited to the exhibition, the reception and the artist talk. Admission is free.
It is the third time in the past 10 years that the gallery has presented a solo exhibition of a series of paintings of the campus by McCombs. The gallery also featured his work in the fall of 2002 and 2005.
McCombs's watercolors fit into the photorealist tradition. The works are not "views" in the traditional sense of visual records of the buildings. Rather, they are excerpted details and surprising perspectives, sometimes of small or inconspicuous minutiae.
The exhibition opening on October 14, like the two that preceded it, will feature new works that highlight multiple facets of the campus, from Graves Hall and Dimnent Memorial Chapel, built in earlier centuries; to the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication, DeVos Fieldhouse and Van Andel Soccer Stadium, built in this one. Working from photographs that he has been taking across his years at Hope, McCombs has painted not only scenes of the present but moments from the past, like the imminent relocation of one of the houses that preceded the construction of the Haworth Inn and Conference Center in the 1990s.
A member of the Hope faculty since 1969, McCombs actively displays his prints and paintings throughout the U.S. and around the world. His artwork has been procured by many permanent collections both nationally and internationally, including the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the National Museum of Fine Arts in Hanoi, Vietnam. He holds his B.F.A. from the Cleveland Institute of Art, and his M.F.A. from Tulane University in New Orleans, La.
In addition to his solo exhibition at Hope, he has recently had work featured in multiple exhibitions around the country, including: "Kansas Watercolor Society National Exhibition," The Wichita Center for the Arts; "The Printmaking Revolution in America, Kenosha Public Museum, Wis.; "75 Mid-year Exhibition," The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; "Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors," Arts Center, Old Forge, N.Y.; Missouri National Watercolor Exhibition," Winston Churchill Museum, Fulton, Mo.; "76th National Exhibition," receiving Juror's Mention, Cooperstown Art Association, N.Y; "Niagara Watercolor Society National Exhibition," UB Anderson Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.; "Reading the Fine Print, Exploring the Printmaker's Art," Saugatuck Center for the Arts; "83rd Regional Exhibition," Muskegon Museum of Art; "Festival 2011," The Grand Rapids Art Museum; "West Michigan Area Exhibition," Kalamazoo Institute of Arts; "2011 Statewide Exhibition," Ella Sharp Museum of Art and Art History," Jackson; and the "35th Northeast Watercolor International Exhibition," Kent Art Association, Kent, Conn.
The De Pree Art Center is located at 160 E. 12th St., on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street. The gallery is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m., although the hours may be reduced during breaks and holidays. The gallery is handicapped accessible.