Opening October 2, the paintings will be on display through November 2.
This exhibit is sponsored by JCB and will feature many newer works from John including his striking mixed media mirrors from the Millican and Vickery collections. Also, featured will be more paintings from Marilyn, John's mother who painted at SICA as a part of the Wednesday group which still meets at the center to this date. Rounding out this great family show will be the work of Speck Mellencamp, who graduated from Rhode Island School of Design earlier this year.
John Mellencamp is a rebel without a cause but not the spitfire refractory type who raises a painting palette with a clenched fist against the art establishment. He’s not a rebel who proclaims a cerebral doctrine, decrees an oppressive ideology or a proponent of some altisonant theory or authoritarian manifesto.
His rebellion is embodied in the physical phenomena, in the palpable materiality of his art. He does not pay any deferential tribute to any arching esthetic dictamina. He propounds in a serenely quiet and countervailing way that art need not subscribe to any one restrictive philosophy but can embrace expansively myriad paths and approaches to self-discovery and the realization of self-expression. Read David L. Shirey's complete perception of John Mellencamp after the jump.
What is clear about the art of John Mellencamp is that his work extends the rich tradition of American expressionistic art that harks back to the painterly canvases of Robert Henri (1865-1929) and the so called Early Modernists that flourished in the early part of the 20th Century. The Butler's "The Little Dancer' from 1916 reveals the rich and highly textured handling of paint the has its roots in Vincent Van Gogh's impasto surfaces often achieved with finders and palette knives.
Also in the collection is Marsden Hartley's (1877-1943) "Birds of Bagaduce" that brought to America the expressionistic fevor of German Expressionist art that helped define Modernism in the early part of the century. Marsden Hartley would have identified strongly with the social relevance of so much of John Mellencamp's art, its social commentary, its exaggerations and its humor.
Robert Henri (1865-1929), The Little Dancer, 1916-1918, Oil on Canvas
Daufuskie Island has always offered different strokes for different folks.
Now those different strokes have gone big and bold in the form of a
self-portrait by part-time islander John Mellencamp.
He’s known to the world as the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
But it is as a visual artist that the star has chosen to join 25 other Daufuskie
artists now displaying their work at the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head
“I’m thrilled that he chose to be a part of our show,” said its organizer, Jenny
Hersch of Daufuskie. “We asked if he would participate, and he said, ‘I’m a
Daufuskie artist’ and the piece arrived from Indianapolis.”
John Mellencamp has been making music and touring since the 1970s. But unbeknownst to many he’s dovetailed his music career with work as an accomplished painter. On this week’s State of the Arts, WKSU’s Mark Arehart takes us to the Butler Institute in Youngstown for a look at the rocker’s newest exhibit.
Listen to WKSU's Mark Arehart as he tours the new John Mellencamp show at the Butler Institute HERE.
Someone once told John Mellencamp that if he really wanted to sell his work, he needed to paint still lifes and flowers.
“I don’t want to sell paintings that bad,” Mellencamp said.
One walk through “John Mellencamp: Expressionist,” which opened Thursday at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, is proof that he didn’t take that advice. Inspired by the work of German expressionist painters, Mellencamp’s work is filled with dark subject matter and figures that range from sad to serious to grotesque.
Wearing denim bib overalls and a white T-shirt, John Mellencamp pulled up a stool and talked about his art.
The rocker from Indiana was visiting the Butler Institute of American Art Thursday night, where his new art exhibition, “John Mellencamp: Expressionist” is now on view.
About 100 invited guests crowded around a corner of one of the galleries, where Mellencamp answered questions posed by Butler Director Louis A. Zona.
If the artist’s attire was surprising in such a formal setting, well, that’s a hallmark of art, said Mellencamp.
“Art should surprise the artist,” he said. “If the artist is not surprised, then it’s something else.”
John Mellencamp’s upcoming art exhibition is larger than his first, a
reflection of his rising stock as an artist.
Titled “John Mellencamp: Expressionist,” the exhibition comprises more than 40 pieces. It opens Thursday and runs through Nov. 18 at the Butler Institute of American Art.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer had his first museum exhibition in 2013-14 at the Butler’s Trumbull branch. The new show is double the size, sprawling over two galleries on the second floor of the main museum on Wick Avenue.
“This one is more of a retrospective than the previous one,” said Louis A. Zona, executive director of the Butler and chief curator.
The new exhibition includes a few pieces that were in the first show. It also includes several montages and mixed media pieces.
The exhibition John Mellencamp: Expressionist, will be on view at The Butler from September 20 through November 18, 2018. Admission to the exhibition and to the museum is free.
John Mellencamp: Expressionist features at least 42 large-scale oil portraits and mixed-media pieces that successfully emit the same aura of anti-establishment as his music, and bravely deals with wide ranging issues of the working class and bitter sweet truths of the human condition. Read the complete press release after the jump.
The opening for singer John Mellencamp’s new art show at ACA Galleries in Manhattan was, unsurprisingly, a who’s who of Hollywood and rock stardom. Lorraine Bracco, the actress who played Tony Soprano’s therapist, was there alongside veteran rock reporter Alan Light, Bungalow8 founder Amy Sacco, and Universal Music president Bruce Resnikoff.
Mellencamp’s show, “Life, Death, Love, and Freedom” is his second at the gallery, and like his musical career, his artwork is only getting better. The portraits, rendered in dark oranges and shadowy blacks, are reminiscent of the German artist Markus Schinwald’s work. Mellencamp himself cites influences as far ranging as Robert Rauschenberg and the German expressionists Max Beckmann and Otto Dix.
The titles of the work variously make reference to James Dean, the Marlboro Man, and a character from the movie Babydoll. But Mellencamp would prefer the work be read on its own terms. “These galleries want names on the paintings,” he told artnet News in an email. “I would prefer not to name any artwork. I find titles anywhere I can get them, more or less just for identification purposes.”
Lest viewers think that Mellencamp’s art is merely a vanity offshoot of his musical celebrity, in fact, the Jack and Diane crooner spent time at the Art Students League in New York in the 1970s, and always hoped to pursue a painting career.
Today, when he isn’t on a 50-concert tour, Mellencamp frequents galleries and museums, plus the occasional art fair. But he’s happiest making his own art, no matter what form it takes.
On Wednesday (April 25), John Mellencamp welcomed guests to his second art gallery opening in New York in three years to display a striking new mixed-media style to his paintings -- the counterpoint to his career as one of the most successful rock songwriters of his era.
View gallery HERE
How long have you been making visual art? Was this something that you did during your initial music career? I’ve been making visual art for as long as I can remember. I originally went to New York to go the Art Students League and in the meantime, I got a record deal.
What visual artists inspire you? Are you inspired by other musicians that make visual art? An amateur artist borrows. A professional artist steals, and is inspired by what they have taken.
A lot of your portraits are really dark (color wise,) What draws you to this thematically dark style? My palette is the same palette it has been for 40 years, and it is the same palette as Rembrandt’s. I very rarely use non-earth tone colors, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t if I felt the surprise of the addition.
Also, a lot of your work feels referential to America and the American political landscape, is this one of the primary intentions behind your art? Or is it more just what you're thinking of? A true art is when the artist is surprised. I’m not looking to make any statements or hang on any crosses. I’m looking to surprise myself. The painting must be beautiful, even if it’s grotesque.
Heavily influenced by the German Expressionists, such as Otto Dix and Max Beckmann, whose anguish over human brutality and corruption speaks to his deep feelings about social justice, Mellencamp’s imagery takes its inspiration from the same sources as his music: the oppressive authority and social struggles of the working man and woman. But though that foundation is German, the evolved result is decidedly American, with the brash and snappy visual rhythms of our streets, lives, politics and passions.
I grew up in Seymour, Ind. The first place we lived was on Fifth Street. It was nothing special—just a small one-story home they built for vets returning from World War II. My two brothers and I lived in the basement. My father, Richard, fixed up a section for us with wood paneling and ugly linoleum on the concrete floor.
We had triple bunk beds. I was the middle kid, so I got the middle bunk. There was a TV, and the windows were at ceiling level.
My mother, Marilyn, was a homemaker. Later, she delivered mail to keep busy. She was very pretty, and had been a runner-up in the Miss Indiana pageant in '46. She loved to paint and did so each day, in between dealing with us. My dad created a studio space for her in the basement, too. When I was little, I'd paint on top of her work. That pissed her off.
"Like the characters in the Steinbeck and Faulkner novels he admired in his youth and the dustbowl inflected songs of Woody Guthrie, he paints about alienation and struggle more than joy or ease..."
His latest body of work will soon be on view at ACA Galleries in New York, an institution that has been supporting artists in diverse disciplines with singular points of view for over 80 years. Titled John Mellencamp: Life, Death, Love, Freedom, the exhibition will bring together two bodies of work: Mellencamp’s sculptural assemblages and series of portraits. This will be his second solo exhibition with the gallery. Click HERE to read the article online and view some of the paintings that are part of the exhibit.