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Painters From Orange County Featured At U.Va.'s Fayerweather Gallery

Feb. 18 , 1999 -- The works of Joe Simms and Laura Burrell, two artists with the Orange Studio Program, will be featured March 1 to March 26 at the University of Virginia's Fayerweather Gallery on Rugby Road.

Megan Marlatt, founder of the Orange Studio Program and associate professor of Studio Art at U.Va., encouraged Simms and Burrell by letting them work in her studio. When citizens in rural Orange decided to start The Art Center in Orange, Marlatt proposed and created the Orange Studio Program to encourage and support mentally disabled artists like Simms and Burrell. Artists must present a portfolio of their work to join the studio, which provides space as well as materials.

Simms' and Burrell's art can be categorized as "arte brute" or visionary art which taps into creative roots, without classical or academic structure.

Simms is a prolific painter - drawing all day, every day - producing five to six works in a day. He is self-taught and uses a variety of materials. When traditional art materials are not available he uses anything he can get his hands on -- including car paints, markers, pencils and discarded cardboard boxes -- and takes as his subject matter what he sees around him in rural Orange where he has spent most of his 57 years. "Joe Simm’s work is untainted by the constraints, expectations and demands placed upon artists creating in formal academic settings. The result is an art in its purist form, a raw, untamed expressionism," said U.Va. art student Heather Brausa, co-curator of the exhibition.

Burrell, who earned a B.A. in art from Marymount College in 1976, is a resident of President Madison's Home for Adults in Orange."Laura Burrell's paintings celebrate life in all its optimism and joy. Though savvy in her approach to color and form, there is nothing jaded or cynical in her paintings," Marlatt said.

An opening reception, hosted by Fayerweather Friends, will be held on First Friday, March 5, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. with an informal gallery talk at 6:30 p.m. by Marlatt and Brausa, co-curators of the exhibit.

Fayerweather Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Rebecca Hoffberger, director and founder of the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, will give a lecture on March 2 at noon in Fayerweather Hall, Room A104. According to the museum's catalog, it "has been hailed 'a treasure house,' full of the most outstanding creations born of intuition and self-styled imagination." Hoffberger will speak about the museum and show slides of the collection.

"This museum is unique and unconventional. It offers a feast for the imagination," said Marlatt. "It's the first museum of its kind in the country."

For more information, contact Megan Marlatt at (804) 924-7206. Television reporters contact our TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.

Contact: Jane Ford, (804) 924-4298.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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