Close To Home Art Exhibition: Program & Talk

Close To Home Art Exhibition: Program & Talk image

Event Details

Dates: 9/16/2021
Times: 6 PM-8 PM
Price: $7 Adults (16+); $5 Veterans and Military; $2 Children (6-15); FREE (Under 6); FREE (UAFS Students)
Venue: Fort Smith Museum of History
320 Rogers Avenue Fort Smith, AR 72901
Contact: 479-783-7841


Artist Galen Hunter will present a program and talk on his style, research methods, and inspirations of the work presented in “Close To Home”. More specifically, he will address his idea to focus on Fort Smith as the subject of his recent paintings as opposed to his earlier work highlighting his travels in Italy. Hunter will also discuss his stylistic changes. In earlier work his primary instrument was the use of a fountain pen to layout his sketches where he then applied watercolor over the pen and ink drawing to, in 2019, after studying with Stephanie Bower, changing layouts to pencil while allowing the watercolor to share an equal load with the pencil. With “Close To Home”, he began attempting to lessen the amount of reliance on the pencil in the finished product and focus mainly on the paint, somewhat like an oil painter, but with the transparent medium of watercolor. Additionally, he will share examples of earlier work that will progress through changes to his current exhibition. Hunter’s works will highlight the difference between his travel sketches, which are much looser than the pieces in his studio exhibitions, to more recent work that includes the new incorporation of vehicles as part of the landscape of his watercolors.

“Close to Home” is a series of watercolor and pen and ink drawings that captures the mundane structures and landmark architecture that comprise the built environment in and around Fort Smith. The paintings present a snapshot in time and examine how utilitarian and repurposed structures can be viewed in the same way as formal architecture through the patterns of light and shadows cast by the buildings.

The exhibition includes paintings of structures located in areas of town that have declined as the City continued to develop towards the east and away from the City’s origins close to the Arkansas River. Many of these repurposed buildings have signage located on or surrounding the building which adds another level of detail to catch the viewer’s eye. The written word when combined with strong shadow patterns make these structures compelling subjects.

The pieces have been grouped into 5 different sections including Downtown, West (Towson and Wheeler Avenues), Midtown, East and South, and Surrounding Cities.

Artist Biography

Galen Hunter is a watercolor painter who lives and works in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Trained as an architect, his paintings focus on buildings, signage, and streetscapes. Many of his paintings depict the ordinary structures such as tire stores and feed mills that form our everyday surroundings. He has studied with Sydney based watercolorist and travel sketcher Liz Steel and Seattle architectural illustrator Stephanie Bower. Previous exhibitions include Ordinary in 2019, a part of the Chancellor’s Coalition for the Visual Arts at the University of Arkansas- Fort Smith.

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