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‘Inspired’ pairing 

Rembrandt, Durer at UALR.

ST. JEROME PENITENT IN THE WILDERNESS: Circa 1496 Durer engraving at UALR.
  • ST. JEROME PENITENT IN THE WILDERNESS: Circa 1496 Durer engraving at UALR.

Forty etchings and woodcuts by two of the most renowned artists in Western culture go on exhibit Sunday, Jan. 27, at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock when it opens “The Inspired Line: Selected prints of Albrecht Durer and Rembrandt van Rijn from the Thrivent Financial Collection of Religious Art.” The show will be in Gallery I of the Fine Arts Center.

In addition to that impressive welcome to the spring semester, UALR will also open Sunday an exhibit of work by fine contemporary artists such as Alice Neel, from the collection of Bill and Mary Lambright of Little Rock.

Some critics say the graphic work of the 16th century artist Durer knows no equal in draftsmanship and religious content. Visitors to the exhibit will be able to compare Durer's work with that of master artist Rembrandt, who worked a century after Durer and applied a looser, more expressionistic line to the same Biblical scenes interpreted by Durer. Exhibits USA, which is circulating the exhibit, says the show pairs Durer's 1510 woodcut “The Death of the Virgin” with Rembrandt's 1659 etching of the same title to illustrate the differences in the artists' styles and religious influences of their times.

Joanna Reiling Lindell of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Minneapolis curated the show. UALR art professors Dr. Jane Brown and Dr. Floyd Martin will give talks about the artists starting at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The Lambrights amassed their collection over the past 20 years. Included in the exhibit will be work by the neoclassical painter Stephen Assael, abstract artist Lee Bontecou, expressionist portrait painter Alice Neel, noted sculptor Lee Nevelson and other nationally-known artists, as well as Arkansas's Kevin Kresse, Kathy Strause, Laura Phillips, Warren Criswell and more. The Lambright show is in Gallery III on the second floor.

In Gallery II are recent paintings by UALR artist-in-residence Stephan Cefalo, a contemporary figurative artist who studied with Assael.

Having a catalog is the next best thing to seeing in person Arkansas State University's “Delta National Small Prints Exhibition,” though next-best is distant from best when it comes to art. The catalog proves the annual exhibit continues to be a strong showcase of contemporary printmaking across the country.

ASU must be building quite a collection of prints; the show included 17 purchase awards this year. Sponsorships provided four merit awards as well. In all, 54 artists are represented in the show, from as far away as Corvallis, Ore., and Stratton, Maine. Juror was Marjorie Devon of the Tamarind Institute for printmaking in Albuquerque.

The etchings, woodcuts, engravings, digital images and such are, for the most part, figurative, and many are narrative as well. Clean, clear primary-ish colors are used to comment on the collision of Asian and American culture (in Yuji Hiratsuka's four-part intaglio and chine colle) and temptation (Stephanie Sweeney's linocut). Aaron Johnson's woodcut of cypress trees uses gorgeous line to render trucks, limbs, dark and light. James Ehlers' own hand in his surreally creepy engraving “Rising” is equally masterful.

The exhibit runs through Feb. 17 at the Bradbury Gallery in the Fowler Center.

Stoney Lamar, a premier woodworking artist whose work is in the collections of the Smithsonian and the American Craft Museum of New York City among other institutions (including the Arkansas Arts Center), will talk about his craft at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, at the Arkansas Arts Center.

The Friends of Contemporary Craft Event includes a light supper; tickets are $15 for members and $20 for non-members.

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