Campus News

View Year

Juniata Artist Explores Aging, Loss Through Paintings

(Posted November 14, 2005)

Cutter of Lilacs, an oil on birch panel, is by Bruce Erikson, assistant professor of art at Juniata.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- An eclectic exhibit of oil paintings by Bruce Erikson, assistant professor of art at Juniata College, will explore the psychological issues presented by aging, loss, death and family dynamics in a vibrant art exhibit, "Bruce Erikson: Unravel," on display Nov. 18 through Feb. 25 at the Juniata College Museum of Art.

There will be an opening reception for the exhibit at 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 18 at the museum gallery. The reception is free and open to the public.

Erikson is primarily a figurative painter whose vividly painted scenes often have a jarring psychological underpinning related to how human beings' bodies and minds fail as we age. These sometimes tragic scenes are executed in a highly personal style that uses lush colors and rich tonal qualities to suggest a dream-like or cinematic image. Although Erikson's style is his own, there are echoes in his work of other superb figurative painters, such as Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper and Caravaggio.

"My narratives emanate from personal recollections, memories and dreams that are often overlooked in significance. My work attempts to evolve past the personal by conversing with psychological issues of aging, death and dying, loss and longing," Erikson writes in his artist's statement.

Erikson came to the Juniata in 2005 as assistant professor of art. He has extensive experience both as an artist and as an art professor. He earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts in 1996 from Edinboro University, in Edinboro, Pa., and went on to earn a master of fine arts degree in painting in 1999 from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. He holds a certificate from the Illustration Academy in Kansas City, Mo.

Before joining the Juniata faculty he worked at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he was visiting assistant professor from 2003 to 2005. He worked as a lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. from 2001 to 2003, where he also directed the university's painting-study abroad program in Florence, Italy.

He has had a series of solo art exhibitions. His "Unravel" exhibition was displayed at Macomb Community College (Clinton Town, Mich.), SUNY-Geneseo (N.Y.), Sinclair Community College (Dayton, Ohio) and Lock Haven University.

His work also has been included in international and national juried exhibitions, including shows at the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts in New Castle, Pa., Fraser Gallery in Washington, D.C., Brad Cooper Gallery in Tampa, Fla., Palos Verde Arts Center in Palos Verde, Calif. and Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

The Juniata College Museum of Art is located in historic Carnegie Hall at 17th and Moore streets in Huntingdon. Museum hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. For more information, please call the museum at (814) 641-3505, or visit the Juniata College Web site at http://www.juniata.edu/museum.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.