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Cityscapes: Everson, OHA collaborate on local art exhibit

"Durston Building from Parking Lot,’"a watercolor by Adeliade Morris, 1952.

"Durston Building from Parking Lot,’"a watercolor by Adeliade Morris, 1952.

— The most memorable art – be it a painting or a book, music or a movie – shines new light on our everyday world so that we see it with fresh eyes.

Familiar surroundings, no matter how drab, become luminous. Routine scenes and situations suddenly pulsate with momentous meaning. Streets shimmer. Faces radiate. Landscapes glisten.

So it is with the artworks in the Everson Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibit, “People, Place and Progress: Local Landscapes in Paint and Print.” Presented in collaboration with the Onondaga Historical Association, the exhibit will hang from June 2 through Sept. 2, at the Everson, 401 Harrison St., at the corner of South State Street. Admission is free.

The exhibition showcases paintings of local historical scenes from the collections of both institutions. Images will include the Erie Canal, rural vistas, area waterfalls and gorges, plus architectural landmarks such as former breweries, mills and stagecoach inns.

Playful parking lot

One of the show’s most eye-catching paintings is Adelaide Morris’ delightful 26x21-inch watercolor, “Durston Building from Parking Lot,” which she painted in 1952. Plump as melons, the automobiles appear to have a life of their own as they await their downtown drivers. The yellow car at the center looks like a face, twice; its windshields are sad eyes while its headlights are giddy glimpsers, ready to roll.

Lenswoman chronicles comic chaos

Hanging simultaneously with “People, Place and Progress” will be photographs by the Missouri-based photographer Julie Blackmon. Her exhibit, “Other Tales from Home,” will be on view at the Everson Museum of Art through Sept. 2.

Blackmon’s photos are an ingenious mix of realism and fantasy. In one, swim-suited children cavort in a backyard under a blue sky as white umbrellas hover overhead. In another, an old bag lady, a blonde girl child, a young man in black and a tiny Chihuahua converge on a stop sign in a city alleyway.

Authentic and dysfunctional, Julie Blackmon’s photographs strike a resonating chord in both children and adult viewers. Inspired by humorous 17th century Dutch paintings and her own childhood as the eldest of nine, Blackmon digitally reconstructs scenes of family life with an eye for humor and the underlying chaos that causes it.

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