PIQUA — Piqua Arts Council opened their Rockwell Reimagined exhibit at the Piqua Public Library with a dessert reception on Thursday, Feb. 28. The exhibit, which features 35 works of art from artists across the state of Ohio, will be on display until April 19 during regular Piqua Public Library jours.
Each work in the exhibit features a 21st century take on the work of Norman Rockwell. Rockwell was famous for his paintings used on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Each painting told a story and often included humor or touched on culturally relevant topics.
Juror for the exhibition was Dayton Art Institute’s Curator of Asian Art Peter Doebler. Doebler said he has a soft spot for Rockwell like so many in his profession. Doebler said choosing just three pieces for awards was extremely difficult. In the end, Michelle Geissbuhler from Worthington took home the third place award for her piece “Mirror Image,” based on the Rockwell piece of the same title. Second place went to Carol Granger of Columbus for her painting “Sally the Surgeon” based on Rockwell’s “Rosie the Riveter.” First place went to David Hovey of Columbus for his work “Girl at the Barber,” based on Rockwell’s “First Haircut.”
“Geissbuhler’s ‘Mirror Image’ takes account of social changes related to gener and how it is expressed. While Rockwell’s painting has objects that shape what the girl is and thinks she should be — the doll, bruch, and glamour magazine — this painting removes these details and simplifies to just the girl looking at herself with no influences, prompting the question of how we might see ourselves differently if given the chance,” Doebler said.
Doebler continued with Granger’s piece, “It uses an interesting choice of colors and composition to create an eye-catching image. Capturing and keeping a viewer’s attention is the most important thing for a magazine cover and is one reason Rockwell was so successful, and this painting echoes this feature of Rockwell,” Doebler said. “It transposes ‘Rosie the Riveter,’ extending the discussion of what jobs are available to women, and playfully draws a parallel with drilling. Playfulness and details are very important to Rockwell’s work and there are many modern updates and humorous text in the background.”
“’Girl at the Barber’ is technically superb with its overall colors, composition, and details. Using digital illustration creates a visual with a highly polished finish, and it makes one think if Rockwell were working today he might have chosen a similar medium,” Doebler said. “The painting reinterprets Rockwell in several Ways with a lought touch — the hair dye, the doting parents, and the pervasive sharing of our lives via social media — again making one think it Rockwell were here he might have created a delightful image like this.”
The Rockwell Reimagined Exhibition will be available at Piqua Public Library until April 19 during regular library hours in the second floor gallery.