James A. Michener Art Museum James A. Michener Art Museum
Doylestown, PA

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James A. Michener Art Museum
138 S. Pine St.
Doylestown, PA 18901

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It’s Personal: The Art of Robert Beck

Daring Design: The Impact of Three Women on Wharton Esherick’s Craft

Miriam Carpenter: Shaping the Ethereal


It’s Personal: The Art of Robert Beck
July 30, 2021 - January 2, 2022
Beans Gallery

Curated by David Leopold
For the past three decades, Robert Beck has been an integral part of the Bucks County art scene. He paints what fascinates him, whether it be on land or sea; in Bucks County, New York, Maine, or around the world. His documentary style of plein air painting captures the vitality of everyday life, even if that life is on the set of Good Morning America, the annual High Heel Drag Race in New Hope, or in a village in Senegal. He challenges himself to create memorable works in unusual situations and this creative tension is distilled in paint. “The majority of my paintings are done directly from the subject in one sitting,” says Beck. “They depict where I am, what catches my interest, and what it feels like to be there…The reason why I was drawn to a subject became part of the image. It got very personal.”

It’s Personal: The Art of Robert Beck provides a comprehensive overview of this important local artist’s body of work, from his plein air paintings completed on site to his studio work. It will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue and a collection of essays written by the artist for ICON magazine, entitled, A Thousand Words: Essays and Art by Robert Beck.

This exhibition is generously supported by Amy Stewart Powell, Elise and John Rupley, and Barbara and David Stoller. Additional support is provided by Lucinda Avery Ayers, Rago Auctions, Jean Wilson and John Roberts, Joe and Judy Franlin, and Jacqui and David Griffith.

Daring Design: The Impact of Three Women on Wharton Esherick’s Craft
Through February 6, 2022
Paton | Smith | Della Penna-Fernberger Galleries

Curated by Chief Curator Laura Turner Igoe, Ph.D., and Mark Sfirri

This exhibition will explore the significant impact of three women—Helene Fischer (1879-1970), Hanna Weil (1900-1985), and Marjorie Content (1895-1984)—on the artistic development and career of sculptor and studio craftsman Wharton Esherick (1887-1970). Featuring innovative furniture pieces designed by Esherick for Fischer, Weil, and Content as well as artwork created by Weil, a sculptor, and Content, a photographer, Daring Design will investigate the visual and material dialogue between these artists and patrons.

In the 1930s, Wharton Esherick developed important relationships with three women who had a lasting impact on his life and work. His first significant patron, Helene Fischer, the director of the Schutte-Koerting manufacturing company, commissioned a series of innovative furniture for her home and business. These commissions allowed Esherick to push the boundaries between expressionist sculpture and functional furniture design and resulted in some of his most iconic works. Through Fischer, Esherick met Hanna Weil, a German Expressionist artist celebrated for her ivory carvings. Esherick’s drawings, prints, and carved wooden utensils and furniture from this time period visually convey his deep respect for Weil and her work. Inspired by his designs for Fischer, the photographer Marjorie Content also commissioned several important Esherick works for her New York City apartment and Doylestown home. The bedroom suite Esherick created for Content continued his experiment with prismatic, angular forms and echoed the strong lines of Content’s own tightly-cropped photographs of urban scenes, southwestern canyons, and floral still lifes. This is the first exhibition to explore in depth the impact of these three women—Fischer, Weil, and Content—on Esherick’s innovative furniture designs and professional growth.

Daring Design will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essays by exhibition curators Laura Turner Igoe, Chief Curator at the Michener Art Museum, and Mark Sfirri, a celebrated woodworker, Professor Emeritus at Bucks County Community College and Esherick expert.

Daring Design : The Impact of Three Women on Wharton Esherick’s Craft is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the Art Bridges Initiative.

The exhibition is generously supported by the Bucks County Tourism Grant Program:

Miriam Carpenter: Shaping the Ethereal
Through March 20, 2022
Pfundt Gallery

Curated by Laura Turner Igoe, Ph.D., Chief Curator

Celebrate the beauty and soul of natural materials in this exhibition featuring Miriam Carpenter’s sculpture, furniture, prints, and drawings that exemplify her careful, deliberate process of transformation. Appearing deceptively simple at first glance, each of Carpenter’s pieces involve complex calculations and an intimate understanding of her chosen material, whether wood or clay.

Carpenter developed her deep appreciation for materials during the seven years she designed furniture with Mira Nakashima (b. 1942), daughter of woodworker, architect, and furniture maker George Nakashima (1905-1990). At George Nakashima Woodworkers studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Carpenter learned to read the life of a tree through the knots, veins, and rings of its wood. In 2012, she began carving small, intricate feathers that incorporate the wood’s grain pattern and structure into the object’s final design. These wood feathers are exceedingly thin and finely detailed. To Carpenter, they symbolize “that which is ethereal…a testament to the resilience of nature.”

Carpenter’s work explores the possibilities within materials as she seeks to create new forms and solve challenging design problems. This is the first solo exhibition of her work at the James A. Michener Art Museum.

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