New York Exhibition Showcases Career of Former UMass Amherst Art Professor George Wardlaw

George Wardlaw
George Wardlaw

AMHERST, Mass. – The exhibition “George Wardlaw: Then and Now,” highlighting nearly 60 years of the artist’s works opens Thursday, Nov. 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s New York Professional Outreach Program (NYPOP space at 526 W. 26th Street, in New York City).

Wardlaw taught at UMass Amherst for more than two decades. He was a beloved and inspirational teacher and, remains to this day, a prolific artist.

“Then and Now” is presented in honor of his 90th birthday, his years of academic service, and his artistic legacy. The exhibition will feature both early and recent paintings, with works from 1959-60 that were first exhibited at the Betty Parsons Gallery in NYC in 1960, along with recent works from 2015-17.

Wardlaw, who turned 90 last spring, has continued throughout his long and distinguished career as both an artist and academic to be a prolific painter and sculptor of primarily large-format works. His art reflects major trends of the latter part of the 20th century, from abstract expressionism to geometric abstraction, to abstract landscape and in recent years to merging various facets of his earlier abstract gestural paintings with his mid-career hard edge work to create a new body of work that explores the interplay between the reality of order and chaos.

Wardlawʼs academic career spanned nearly seven decades, beginning at the University of Mississippi, where he established and taught a metals program and studied with visiting artists Jack Tworkov and David Smith. He went on to teach at SUNY New Paltz, and then to Yale University, where he taught painting and ran the Yale Norfolk Summer School of Art. From 1968-90, Wardlaw served in various capacities in the art department at UMass Amherst, including 17 years as department chair. In recent years, Wardlawʼs paintings and sculptures have taken center stage, with a major retrospective of his work at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, “George Wardlaw: A Life in Art: Works from 1954-2015”; a Pollock Krasner Grant in 2015; public art installations in various locations such as the Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park, Maine; and several recent gallery exhibitions including Yvette Torres Gallery in Rockland, Maine, Fischer Galleries in Jackson, Mississippi, and Morrison Gallery in Kent, Connecticut.

For 25 years, UMass Amherst’s New York Professional Outreach Program (NYPOP) has served visual art students, facilitating travel to NYC and hosting intensive, two-day encounters with arts professionals. In 2016, NYPOP’s reach was expanded to include all departments in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, providing the invaluable service of helping humanities and arts students understand their limitless opportunities and bridge the divide between academia and the professional world.

For further information on George Wardlaw, contact Lori Friedman, Lori Friedman Arts Management ( 413/374-5503.

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