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Clay Center Collectors Club finds purchase candidates

By Staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Collectors Club members are mulling which of five pieces of art to buy for the permanent collection of the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences.

Arif Khan, the Mary Price Ratrie Curator of Art, presented the five candidates to club members May 22, giving the reasons why each piece would be a good addition to the collection.

The works are on display in the art gallery until May 30, when the club will meet at 6 p.m. to cast and count the ballots for the new purchase. Gallery visitors may vote on their favorite. The public can also cast their "people's choice" vote online on the Clay Center's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/claycenter.

The Collectors Club is a group of individuals who contribute $300 annually to the club to use for purchasing art for the museum's permanent collection and for special programs or speakers. Some years, the club has saved enough to buy a work by a more prominent artist; other years pieces by lesser-known artists are bought.

And occasionally, members on their own buy a piece that wasn't the club's selection. That happened again last year, Khan said, when several members chipped in and bought "Return of Saturn," a ceramic and steel sculpture by Rose B. Simpson.

This year's selections were all chosen during a visit in early May to Philadelphia by Kahn and 14 members of the 100-member club. Khan visited the Philadelphia galleries earlier and picked 26 works for the group to view. The list was narrowed to five, and Khan provided summaries of each.

  • An acrylic-on-board painting, "White Dragons," by Edna Andrade, who lived and worked in Philadelphia since she was a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. She was born in 1917, and died in 2008. She was known for her challenging optical and hard-edged abstract paintings, which hang in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Baltimore Art Museum and many other museums.
  • A photographic case in monoprints by Donald E. Camp with three names: "Man Who Hears Music"/Dave Burrell; "Woman Who Sings Blues"/Caroline Shines; "Brother who Taught Me to Dance"/Ira Camp.
  • Born in 1940, Camp earned a BFA and an MFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. He is the subject of an American Artist Oral History at the Smithsonian Institution, and has been honored with Pew, Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Camp's printing technique uses photosensitized earth pigments -- such as soil -- to produce his one only print of his subject.

  • A photograph by Sharon Harper, an associate professor of visual and environmental studies program at Harvard University. Her UltraChrome prints on Canson Rag Photographique paper are titled "Sun/Moon (Trying to See through a Telescope)" and "Sun/Moon (Trying to See through a Telescope)." The two photographs were taken at two different times on different days.
  • Harper, born in 1966, combines technology and perception in her photographs. Her photographs are in many collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City as well as the New York Public Library.

  • An engraving and screenprint, "Les Ernnyes," by Stanley William Hayter, who was born in 1901 and died in 1988. Hayter spent most of his life in Paris, where in 1927 he founded Atelier 17, an experimental workshop for the graphic arts that was central in the 20th-century revival of the print as a fine art form.
  • A chemist by training, Hayter "had an unrivalled knowledge of the technicalities of printmaking," according to The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists. The British Museum presented a retrospective of his prints in 2001. His prints vary in technique and style, and are in the collections of many major museums around the world.

  • An Eileen Neff photograph, titled "The Ordinary Day," is a Chromogenic print mounted on Plexiglas.
  • Born in 1945, Neff studied poetry before painting before studying photography. Thus, she said, "I consider the ideas and boundaries between disciplines to be more fluid than not."

    Most of her photographic constructions use the landscape as a primary element. Neff is the recipient of many awards, including fellowships from Pew and the National Endowment for the Arts.


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