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Exhibition Spotlight: riverrun: New Works by Ray Kass

Friday, August 14, 2020

12:00pm - 12:05pm

Like writer James Joyce’s ever-circling River Liffey of Dublin, Ireland, from the last and first sentences of the novel "Finnegan’s Wake," water has been a constant subject for Artist Ray Kass.

He has throughout his career painted images of waves, ponds, lakes, and oceans, and the series of paintings featured in the monumental exhibition, riverrun: New Works by Ray Kass is inspired by walks Kass took with his dog Dilbert beside the north fork of the Roanoke River.

In this exhibition spotlight, Kass explains the process that each panel goes through to develop its final appearance, from a paper-smoking process to a rubbing of beeswax before each is united into monumental works to hang side-by-side in a polyptych, a painting with four or more sections.

Trained at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kass initially learned to paint in the strictly abstract style that was the standard in the 1960s. His strong interest in the natural world led him to teach himself to paint in a more realistic manner, and subsequently he has sought to balance his subject’s appearance with the expression and structure obtained by abstracting the subject’s essential forms.

Kass is Professor Emeritus of Art at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and founder of the groundbreaking Mountain Lake Symposia and Workshops, which have brought internationally respected artists and critics to the New River Valley, such as painter Wayne Thiebaud, composer John Cage, sculptor Anthony Caro, and critics Donald Kuspit, Clement Greenberg, and Suzi Gablik.

He has a lengthy exhibition history, including solo exhibitions at Japan Art Forum, Kyoto, Japan; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Reynolds Gallery, both in Richmond, Virginia; and the Allan Stone Gallery in New York.

riverrun: New Works by Ray Kass is on view November 2, 2019–August 16, 2020 in the Carilion Clinic Gallery.