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Plattsburgh State Art Museum Wagschal Exhibit Opens Oct. 1

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ Marion Wagschal, world-renowned Montreal artist and painter of the human figure, will have an exhibition of 30 paintings at the Burke Gallery, Plattsburgh State Art Museum, from Oct. 1 until Nov. 13. 

The exhibition will open on Oct. 1 with an artist's lecture at 3 p.m. in Room 200 of Yokum Hall, and a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Burke Gallery. The reception is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Canada.  The opening lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

Wagschal has painted in Montreal for four decades. Speaking of the artist's work in his essay "Channeling Ghosts," appearing in the full catalogue of the show, James D. Campbell wrote, "Few artists have offered such intimate and often harrowing glimpses into the raw truths of our embodiment.  Fewer have assessed human damage and the possibility of exaltation so well.  Fewer still have dilated with such rigor and eloquence on the darkness in our nature - and the indissoluble wedding of art and our woundedness." 

Continuing to describe the work, Campbell said, "Often depicted naked in her painting, and with no cosmetic allure whatsoever, the body's postural feints and parries in time and circumstance are her enduring subject. She has explored with rare ardor, insistence and perspicacity the body's lesser-seen (but subjectively far better known) nightside:  attrition, dissolution and still higher orders of damage.  Unlike the cold air of the morgue that infiltrates Lucian Freud's paintings of the figure, Wagschal's work is suffused with inflammatory warmth. This warmth is so enveloping, it is difficult to turn away. Her figuration has volume, vigor and tremendous formal charisma."

The artist is a native of Trinidad.  After immigrating to Quebec, she attended Macdonald College at McGill University and received her teaching diploma in 1961.  Wagschal went on to study at Concordia University where she received her BFA degree in 1965 and her MFA in 1967.

Wagschal has had many solo exhibitions and her work appears in many prestigious private and public collections. She is known for her subtle subdued palette, the alluring painterly quality of her brushwork and her unconventional choice of subject. Unlike most figure painters who focus on the young and the beautiful, this artist paints people she is well acquainted with and her view, which reaches out beyond the limits of the canvas, is at once honest and direct.

"As a painter, I am interested in the heroic used in an ironic sense to record and honour individuals and what is revealed through an involved interaction of brief encounter," said Wagschal. "The grandeur and banality of the ordinary, the pain of it.  Is it possible to do figurative work that is significant for today's world? Is the personal relevant, a microcosm of the culture? To reveal the way one thinks in a pictorial sense, just to observe record the complexity of living, the politics of it, the need for connection, tactility, meaning delight, is a privilege.  As a sensuous medium, which contains meaning embedded in pleasure, painting embodies a metaphor of mind, body and spirit. Planned or unplanned, it is a revelatory process leading to exaltation and reflection at its best and has sustained my interest and passion for most of my life."

For more information on the exhibition, contact the Plattsburgh State Art Museum at 518-564-2474 or the Website at: http://clubs.plattsburgh.edu/museum/wagschal.htm
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