The Discerning Eye
January 26 - May 3
Using clear lines and uncluttered canvas, painter Rodney Burlingame creates scenes
of people and places that call the viewer to join the moment he has captured. From
ballerinas taking the stage to cottages on the beach, from cities and the beautiful
people who inhabit them to quaint Amish communities—Burlingame sees them all and tugs
us gently into them.
The Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art on the campus of Central Methodist University presents "The Discerning Eye: Scintillating Paintings from Rodney Burlingame" for its spring exhibition. The show runs from January 26 – May 3 with an opening reception honoring Burlingame on Jan. 26 from 1:30-4:30 p.m.
There is no cost and the reception and exhibition are open to all.
Burlingame, a Columbia, Mo., native, graduated from Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State) in Springfield, Mo., in 1974 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a focus in commercial art. "I could get a paying job in art," he laughs, "or I could have been a starving artist in SoHo."
While still a student, Burlingame was employed part time doing paste-up work in Springfield. Shortly after graduation, he got a job with a Boston ad firm and spent his entire career in that city.
He worked most of the time for one agency where he eventually became Art Director in charge of advertising accounts that spanned the country. He admits it was hard work; however, it did have some very nice perks, including setting up photo shoots in fashionable New York hot spots, assorted mansions, Florida beaches and exotic locations. His efforts won him numerous awards including Hatch, Effie and Design Seven.
He returned to Columbia in 2007 and currently works out of a small studio at his home. Although he has occasionally worked with other media, his medium of choice is acrylic. Burlingame describes his style as clean and mostly uncluttered. "One might even compare it to illustrations," he says.
He averages one painting a week. When he begins a piece, Burlingame admits, he focuses on it until it is finished. Only then will he pursue another piece.
Most of his paintings are people-oriented, from the richly colored "Cinco de Mayo" to the innocent children in "Amish Kids" and the girl at a piano in "Learning to Play." He has the ability to evoke a range of emotions in the viewer
from unbridled joy in "The Roaring 20s" to the rain-drenched and dirge-like sorrow of "Amish Funeral" to the sense of determined optimism in "Follow Your Dreams."
He works from pieces of imagery, such as photographs, using them for inspiration and basic elements that he then combines and refines until they are uniquely his. Each piece is adhered to permanent backing and framed with wood. He refuses to sell his original paintings. "If you sell your originals," he explains, "then what you have left to display are your left-overs, the ones no one bought. That isn't the display I want."
For people who want to own a Burlingame print, however, arrangements can be made with the artist.
Burlingame recently showed a small portion of his paintings at the Boone County National Bank in Columbia. Last summer he won First Place in Professional Painting and Best of Show awards in the Fayette Festival of the Arts for "Bus Stop," his depiction of children getting off a school bus in the rain.
There are 38 pieces in the A-H show. All the artwork in the A-H show was painted in 2013, with the exception of one 2014 piece called "Pillow Talk."
Also included in the spring exhibition in other galleries of the Ashby-Hodge will be works by Aaron Bohrod, George Caleb Bingham, and recent acquisitions of the permanent collection.
The gallery is open Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday from 1:30-4:30 p.m. It is handicapped accessible. For more information, contact Denise Gebhardt, curator, at 660-248-6304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can't make it to the gallery? Visit our online tours.