WCU to host retrospective by late painter Pat Passlof

The work of late painter Pat Passlof will be the focus of a joint exhibition of the Fine Art Museum at Western Carolina University and Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center in Asheville from Thursday, Jan. 26, through Friday, May 25.  

The exhibition, which will simultaneously occupy space in the Cullowhee and Asheville venues, will open with a reception at 6 p.m. Jan. 26 at the WCU Fine Art Museum. The event is free and the public is invited. For the opening reception, the WCU College of Fine and Performing Arts is sponsoring a round-trip bus ride from Asheville to Cullowhee with an additional pickup location in Waynesville.

Art historians acknowledge Passlof as an under-recognized figure in the development of abstract expressionism, whose large canvases vibrate with unpredictable line and thick, luminous color. This long-planned retrospective is among the first since Passlof’s death from cancer in November at the age of 83, and the artist helped select the approximately 60 works represented in the months before her death.

“Pat Passlof: Selections 1948-2011” will feature work from her time as a student at Black Mountain College (where she worked closely with Willem de Kooning, Josef Albers, Buckminster Fuller, M.C. Richards and Merce Cunningham) to her early career in the 1950s cultural ferment of Manhattan to her most recent work, where she broke from her contemporaries and defined her own style as a painter.

The bus to the opening reception will leave at 5 p.m. from the Asheville Visitor Center at 36 Montford Ave., with a 5:30 p.m. pickup at the Kmart parking lot at 1209 Russ Ave. in Waynesville. The bus is scheduled to depart the WCU Fine Art Museum at 8:15 p.m. In addition to a complimentary exhibition catalogue, riders will enjoy a history of abstract expressionism in America and at Black Mountain College narrated by Drury.

Seating on the bus is limited, with registration ongoing for individuals who are supporters of WCU’s Friends of the Arts or who wish to join this initiative at the $50 “supporter level.” Reservations for the general public run from Tuesday, Jan. 17, through Monday, Jan. 23, with tickets priced at $25 per person.

Admission and parking are free. Learn more online at fineartmuseum.wcu.edu.

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