On Sunday, ArtistAngle Gallery in Frederick will debut “Environment: Listening to the Land,” an exhibit featuring eight never-before-seen works by the late artist-turned-teacher Myron Barnstone. Paintings, drawings, and photographs by 14 of his distinguished alumni will also be displayed. The selected Barnstone works show how the artist’s geographical surroundings influenced his creative expression. Paintings from his years in Spain, Paris, and England are featured. The reception for the exhibit will be from 1 to 4 p.m. in the gallery at 124 S. Carroll St.
When Barnstone made the decision to put down his paintbrushes and start teaching others the secrets of the master artists, his true legacy began. He locked away the paintings that had garnered wide acclaim in European exhibits to devote the next 35 years of his life to challenging, mentoring and launching thousands of would-be artists of all ages in his Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, studio.
At the heart of Barnstone’s rigorous instruction was the Golden Section, the disciplined geometric design essential to classical drawing that echoes exacting patterns in nature and the cosmos. Barnstone was frustrated that contemporary art classes no longer taught the exacting skills of proportion, design and color concepts that the masters spent years refining.
The true testament to his proficiency as a master teacher is how many of his students have gone on to earn accomplished careers as artists or in art-related fields. Alumni displaying their own work in the Environment exhibit feature their pieces along side their mentor’s. The show is timed to help commemorate Earth Day on April 22.
Sydney McGinley, a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and whose internationally-awarded work is collected in the U.S. and Europe, is one of Barnstone’s students represented. Baltimore’s Eddie Kihm, who designs graphic T-shirts for Under Armour, submitted several skateboard designs that capture the power and symmetry of nature. Philadelphia-area sculptor Kelsy Landin’s bronze pieces will be displayed, along with paintings, drawings and photographs from other alumni around the country.
It wasn’t until after Barnstone’s death in 2016 at the age of 83 that his archives were unsealed. His daughter, Catherine “Cat” Barnstone Szafran, of Frederick, began the daunting task of cataloging and grouping more than 500 original works Barnstone had concealed from the world.