Wichita Art Museum opens The Disquieting Imagination. A Visual Duet between James G. Davis and Judith Burns McCrea

Wichita Art Museum opens The Disquieting Imagination. A Visual Duet between James G. Davis and Judith Burns McCrea, on view Sep. 16, 2012 – Jan. 20, 2013.

Judith Burns McCrea Wichita Art Museum

This exhibition unites major work by two contemporary painters: James G. Davis (b. 1931) and Judith Burns McCrea (b. 1944). The two artists—though they have led separate professional lives—have much in common, both on aesthetic and biographical levels. Davis and McCrea merge figuration and gestural abstraction in order to create powerful imagery able to provoke insight into the human condition. Each artist is deeply grounded in their own emotional experience, in visual and literary culture, and in the craft of painting.

Both artists received an MFA degree from Wichita State University, Davis in 1962 and McCrea in 1970. Both left Wichita to pursue distinguished teaching careers, but before doing so made significant contributions to the local art community. Davis co-founded the Bottega Gallery (1959–62), which provided an enclave for Beat generation artists in Wichita. McCrea co-organized the children’s art program here at the Museum in 1980 and led the classes for ten years. Upon leaving Wichita, both separately immersed themselves in the Latino culture and geography of the Southwest and Mexico, the intensity of which has continued to have an impact upon their art.

As the exhibition title suggests, the paintings evoke the disruptions and disquiet encountered during the human search for security, meaning, purpose, and love. Each artist, so grounded in scenes of the most emotionally challenging experiences of life, remains committed to the depiction of the figure. Yet, resulting physical and emotional tremors provoke a release of powerful brushwork, color, and scale that convey visually what may be inexpressible in words.

The Wichita Art Museum opened in 1935. It is home to The Roland P. Murdock Collection, one of the premier collections of American Art in the country. The Museum is proud to be supported through public and private funds, owned by the City of Wichita and managed by a private entity, Wichita Art Museum, Inc. Located at 1400 West Museum Boulevard, the Museum and Museum store are open Sunday noon – 5 p.m., and Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free through September 30 and scheduled school groups are always free. – www.wichitaartmuseum.org

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