Gallery spotlight: Lee & Ross

As a component of the exhibition, A Chicken in Every Pot and Affordable Art in Every Home, group curated by Dr. Slipp’s Spring 2021 Museum Studies class, student were assigned two prints each. They researched the artworks and wrote catalogue entries and labels for adults and children. Sticking to a tight word count, students produced different kinds of writing for different audiences.

The texts below were authored by AUM student Jennifer Hardy

The Dove by Doris Emrick Lee on artnet

Doris Emrick Lee (American 1905-1983)

The Dove, 1951

Lithograph 11.5 x 9.5 inches

Label for Adults – Doris Emrick Lee was a regionalist painter known for her idealized depictions of American life. In The Dove she uses contrast and shadows to highlight the central figure and the dove alighting on the girl’s hand. The background is dark but there is light on the horizon. This, combined with the symbolism of the dove, provides a sense of hope and peace. The girl sits on a swing in her Sunday best, but her position is active. She seems poised to action.

Label for Kids – The Dove shows a girl in her Sunday best, sitting on a swing, as a dove approaches to land on her finger. Doves often symbolize peace. Does the image make you feel peaceful? Do you think the girl feels at peace? The image is a lithograph made using a flat stone. Does this look different from other kinds of reproductions that you have seen?

Catalogue entry  Doris Emrick Lee was born in Illinois in 1905. She graduated from Rockford College in 1927, before traveling to France where she studied under Andre L’hote. She also attended the Art Institute of Kansas City and the California School of Fine Arts. She taught in New York at Art Students League.

In the 1930’s she was commissioned by the US Department of the Treasury and the Works Progress Administration to paint murals for Post offices in Washington, D.C. and Summerville, GA. Her works appear in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Whitney, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Phillips Collection, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and The National Museum of Women in the Arts.

The Dove demonstrates Lee’s ability to create atmosphere with contrasting shades of light and dark. She captures the sense of light coming over the horizon, but also highlights the girl, the dove, and the innate symbolism of peace.

Sources Consulted

“The Dove by Doris Emrick Lee,” Artnet.com

“Doris Lee,” Wikipedia

Sold Price: JOHN ROSS (American, b. 1921). ISLAND SILHOUETTE, signed and  numbered 3/100 in pencil lower margin. Color woodcut, circa 1970. -  February 6, 0117 11:00 AM EST

John Ross (American, 1921-2017)

Island Silhouette, 1972

Color Collagraph, 11.5 x 26.5 inches

Label for Adults – In Island Silhouette, John Ross used geometric forms to create an expanse of homes and dwellings depicting an island skyline. Unusually for a work depicting an island, it is completely devoid of nature. Instead, Ross focuses our attention on the imprint of man rather than the image of the island itself. This work is a collograph, created by adhering various materials to a backing and then running it through a printing press.

Label for Kids – Island Silhouette is a jumble of houses and buildings made of geometric shapes and bright colors. It was made by making a collage, which was then run through a printing press. Can you see different materials in the print?

“Collage” – art made by sticking different materials to a backing, such as cardboard

Catalogue entry  John Ross is an American artist, born in 1921. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cooper Union School in 1948. He then studied at Parson School of Design, The Ecole de Beaux-Arts, The New School for Social Research, Columbia University, and Instituto Statale d’Arte.

He went on to teach at Manhattanville College, where he created their BFA program. He also taught workshops in printmaking at The New School and served as the President of the Society of American Graphic Artists. His works are included in several collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Hirshhorn Collection.

Ross uses geometric shapes to create images that are architectural in design. His works look at the imprint of man on the landscape. The images are colorful but muted rather than bright. They do have the feeling of depth and space, along with weight and presence.

Sources Consulted

Island Silhouette | College of Education | University of Iowa (uiowa.edu)

Collection: John Ross Collection | Archives and Special Collections at Rutgers

The Rahr-West | Facebook

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