SRU’s ‘Terrains’ art exhibit recalls 9-11 attack


terrains painting

   "Neural tree" and other paintings by Pittsburgh artist Richard Melvin will be displayed Sept. 14-Oct. 2 in Slippery Rock University's Martha Gault Art Gallery. The show is titled "Terrains." (Photo courtesy of the artist.)

Sept. 9, 2015

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Oil paintings symbolizing the 9-11 terrorist attack, landscapes and a video documentary about Parkinson's disease will be exhibited when Slippery Rock University displays artwork by Richard Melvin during "Terrains," Sept. 14-Oct. 2 in Martha Gault Art Gallery.

The opening is 5-7 p.m., Sept. 15.

The exhibit will include 13 paintings and a video by Melvin, a Pittsburgh artist and filmmaker. Parkinson's has affected the artist and his father.

Two of Melvin's paintings, "9-11 Immediate Impact" and "9-11 Composition," were inspired by the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York City, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Melvin said he painted "9-11 Immediate Impact" the day of the attack.

"I placed a red blog of paint on the top section of a vertical canvass and then asked myself the following question: What am I doing. I have a bad habit of trying to improve without a clear idea," he said.

After leaving the studio, Melvin listened to a telephone message from his sisters and turned on the television for coverage of the unfolding crisis.

"After several hours of thought, I decided to continue the painting and used the red blob as a symbol of the explosions along with two verticals that represent the towers," he said.

After two weeks of planning, Melvin painted the follow up, "9-11 Composition."

Two new paintings, "Monochrome Epiphany" and "Neural Tree" will be exhibited at SRU.

The new works "mark the beginning of a new painting series that reflect the realization that I have Parkinson's disease," Melvin said.

The reduced color scheme - close to black and white - symbolize the loss of sensory function. "I first noticed I lost my sense of smell, along with muscular weakness, during a walk in a wooded lane on one sunny fall day in 2012," he said.

The video is a documentary of his father's struggle with Parkinson's disease with a look at the science of the disease.

Melvin, who received his master's degree in painting from Edinboro University, has displayed his work across the U.S.

Martha Gault Gallery, in Maltby Center, is open noon to 5 p.m. weekdays.

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