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September 03. 2014 7:13PM

Museum of Art at UNH unveils exhibition of work by Jon Imber, who battled ALS in his final years


ON VIEW: Jon Imber (who died earlier this year) create this portrait of “Eric Stange” in 2013. 

Jon Imber was known widely for his New England landscapes and his characteristic expressive brush strokes.

But his expressive portraits of friends, family and acquaintances not only marked the evolution of his artistic style, but his determination after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

An exhibition highlighting Imber’s work opens today at a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Museum of Art in the Paul Creative Center at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

An art professor at Harvard University for 27 years, Imber maintained his artistic practice following his 2012 diagnosis, even re-learning to paint with his left hand as his condition worsened. He died in 2014, but more than 50 displayed works “intimately record Imber’s time with friends and family, displaying physical traces of likeness informed by memories, history, mythology and the artist’s own self-awareness,” curators said.

The showing also includes several works completed in the early years of his career, when he concentrated on figural narrative painting.

In conjunction with “Jon Imber: Human Interest,” and the Museum of Art’s ArtBreak series, a film screening of the documentary “Jon Imber’s Left Hand” by Richard Kane, will be shown Wednesday, Sept. 10, at noon. The screening will take place in the Paul Creative Arts Center In addition, Nicholas Capasso, director of the Fitchburg Museum, will present a gallery talk on Imber’s work, Wednesday, Oct. 1, at noon, also at the center.

The showing is presented along with an exhibition of prints gifted to the museum by UNH graduates Lawrence and Marily Staples. The exhibition, “GraphiCornucopia,” highlights the American print revival of the mid-20th century and covers a broad range of artistic movements and styles. It focuses on the renewed interest in printmaking after World War II, the influence of printmakers affiliated with academic institutions and independent studios, and the use of experimental, often unorthodox processes as a means of artistic expression.

Artists include Josef Albers, Sam Francis, Jasper Johns, Mauricio Lasansky, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Philip Pearlstein, Gabor Peterdi, Susan Rothenberg, Ed Ruscha and Wayne Thiebaud. This exhibition is drawn from the museum’s permanent collection and includes newly acquired works on paper by contemporary American artists Lorna Simpson and Willie Cole.

In conjunction with “GraphiCornucopia, and Museum of Art’s ArtBreak series, a director’s talk with Kristina Durocher, director of the Museum of Art, will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at noon in the Paul Creative Arts Center.

Both showings will run through Sunday, Oct. 19.


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