February Art Gallery features return of former student’s landscapes

“Art is a reflection of my life. The things that are important to me and the things that I connect with are usually what are outwardly expressed on canvas. I have a passion for coastal and island life. My favorite thing to do with my artwork is to set up at the beach with my travel easel, right in the water and paint the beauty of God's creation as it changes in front of me. It just does it for me. Every painting has a story. Sometimes bizarre things happen. Sometimes onlookers stop to peek. Sometimes the moment is graced with peace, or beauty or some type of funny accident. Some people might not understand why I paint coastal and island life so much or drag my easel all around with me, but with every trip, every painting and every brushstroke there is a story to tell and a memory made. They all mean something special to me.” — Chuck Carr, 2014

An exhibit of paintings by artist and former Penn State New Kensington student Chuck Carr is on display during February in the campus Art Gallery.

Carr’s exhibit, "Passions," features landscapes of coastal and island life. He works in a mixed media of acrylics and oil on canvas. His style and medium have evolved as he was influenced by each of his mentors during his early life.

“I progressed from one instructor to another when moving my way through grade school to college,” said Carr, a resident of New Alexandria, Pa. “With each new instructor, and each passing grade or year, my style changed. I worked in many types of mediums and learned many approaches to express art. It was a journey. “

Carr graduated from Penn State in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in agricultural science. He attended the New Kensington campus for two years as an art major, studying under Bud Gibbons, professor of visual arts. He developed an artistic style similar to that of Gibbons.

“When I met Bud Gibbons, I instantly fell in love with his style, his appreciation for art and his perspective of it,” Carr said. “He was the greatest personal influence in my art career. He helped develop my skills and taught me how to allow the materials to cooperate with the creativity inside of me.”

After his sophomore year, Carr was headed to University Park to complete his studies. But he was at the crossroads of his artistic career. He had adopted Gibbon’s style and wanted it to serve as the foundation of his paintings. He didn’t want to be influenced by other professors and instructors at University Park. In a twist on “We had to destroy the village in order to save it,” the memorable quote from the Vietnam War, Carr had to save his artistic endeavors by enrolling the Agricultural Science program.

“I made the incredibly hard choice to end my art training and education and switch majors so that I could preserve the art skills and perspective that Bud had taught me,” Carr said. “I chose to develop what I knew on my own and not allow any other influence to change things.“

This is his second solo show at the campus. He previously exhibited in 2006 with “One Artist's Life,” which featured landscapes of his family's dairy farm. When he is not painting, Carr works the Lone Oak Farm, located in Crabtree, Pa.

“We milk 200 cows year-round and farm about 850 acres,” Carr said. “I help manage the herd.”

Carr and his wife, Cecilia, have five children: Rachel, McKayla, Ryan, Bradley and Justin.

An artist's reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 22 in the campus gallery. Many works of Carr's are for sale. The gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. weekends. For more information, call 724-875-1479.

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Last Updated January 29, 2014