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Lynchburg College's Daura Gallery showing folklore, faculty exhibits

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Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 6:15 pm | Updated: 5:51 pm, Wed Sep 4, 2013.

Rip Van Winkle’s disembodied face, a broad-shouldered Paul Bunyan and a positively geriatric Johnny Appleseed are among the figures depicted in a new Daura Gallery exhibit.

Lynchburg College’s gallery hosted an opening reception for “William Gropper: The American Folklore Series,” as well as a show of new faculty work, earlier this week, and both shows remain up through Oct. 9.

The 10 Gropper prints — which are now part of the Daura’s permanent collection — grew out of a map Gropper, a painter, illustrator and cartoonist known for championing the causes of the common man, created in the 1940s, featuring images of different folk figures.

“He followed up with this series of prints,” says Curator Barbara Rothermel. “There is a caricature aspect to them, but they capture a sense of humanity. They’re dynamic. … He captures expressions and facial features, and body language and movement. He also used unexpected color.”

Other well-known figures featured in the series are Davy Crockett, John Brown and even the Headless Horseman.

“I love the interdisciplinary aspect of the folklore with history, literature, art,” Rothermel says. “They’re a means by which we can explore so many different topics and different themes.

“Prints are a great way to collect because they are so accessible.”

In addition to the prints, the Daura also opened the exhibit “{creative process},” featuring new work by six art faculty members: Ursula Bryant, Siobhan Byrns, Kristin Harris, Richard Pumphrey, Beverly Rhoads and Mona Williams.

The show features a variety of media, from Pumphrey’s well-known sculptural busts to Williams’ mixed media assemblages to Byrns’ photos — a mix of large-scale portraits, tintypes and prints.

“It’s great for the students to see, and good for the entire college community and regional community to see what people who are teaching up-and-coming artists are doing themselves,” Rothermel says. “… [And] the fact that they’re both teachers and artists — one doesn’t preclude the other.”

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