Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Adam’s Children: The Art of Adam Emory Albright - Indiana State Museum, Wilbur E. and Florence Jeup Ford Gallery – Dec. 4, 2002 – 3 stars

A successful Chicago artist at the turn of the 20th century, Albright painted country children in rural settings that were quickly changing with the onslaught of industrialization. Dubbed the "James Whitcomb Riley of the Brush," some of Albright's idyllic plein air scenes were captured in Brown County. The Southwest, Wales, New England and Californian coasts provided other settings. Nearly all of the works share a sun-touched golden aura that permeates leafy green grasses and blue skies, as in "Children in a Field" from 1936. The name typifies the look. The paintings are all timelessly pretty and sweet, making them cross-generational ringers for high public appeal. Though not a profound exhibit, there is nothing wrong with a little sugary sweetness. The country children portrayed immediately reminded me of the snooty depictions of hillbilly folk from that same era made by the second, and effected, Mrs. TC. Steele, Selma, in the book The House of the Singing Winds. But with Albright, a long-gone, nearly mythical, isolated country way of life that existed here is romantically captured by a very American painter. Through Jan. 8, 2003; 317-232-1637. -Mary Lee Pappas

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