A Treasury of Realism

To say that modern, abstract art has come to dominate the art world would be an understatement. But a lot of people have yet to acquire a taste for works that do not immediately reveal to you what they are about.

If you are a fan of traditional, representative art, then make your way to the nearest art atelier. An art atelier is private workshop or studio where a professional artist trains a number of students. It was the most popular way of training artists in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Now showing at the Owatonna Arts Center is a show entitled: “Contemporary Realism: Works from The Atelier Program of Fine Art.” As the following pieces show, this show is for those who still appreciate realism.


Dale Redpath’s “Portrait in Grey and Red”. Redpath studied at Atelier Lack in Minneapolis under Richard Lack. Then she became an instructor there and finally, in 1992 when Lack retired, she took over the school with Cyd Wicker and renamed it “The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art.”



Speaking of Richard Lack, here is his “The Italian Hat.”



Cyd Wicker has built quite a reputation for her paintings of famous people. Here is her portrait of Ann Bancroft, a famous Arctic and Antarctic explorer. And below is her “Anne Marie”.



R. H. Ives Gammel is part of the artistic lineage of The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art. Here is a detail from his work, “Color Study for Decorative Mural.” The actual mural was completed at the Providence State Bank, Rhode Island, in 1951.



I am fascinated by the fact that a good painting of someone brings out more aspects of that person than a simple photograph can. These two works by atelier artist Laura Tundel entitled “Katherine” and “Dan” show exactly what I mean.



Atelier artists don’t just work on portraits. Here is “Untitled Still Life by Laura Tundel.



How long to you suppose the model had to sit stil for this work by Lynn Maderich  entitled “The Thinker”?

I first came into contact with the work of Brenda Ward when she participated in the Healing Arts Program at the Owatonna Hospital. It was great to see some more of her work in this show. The one on the left is “The Secret” and one on the right is “This Little Light.”


In every class there is always someone who thinks outside the box, right? In my mind, Christine Mutzik, the artist featured below, is the one who always kept things interesting at The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art. She is clearly talented but her work is so much different from the others. The top piece is entitled “Voodoo Queen,” and the ones across the bottom from left to right are “Sea Daydream,” “Twilight Dragons (Flight at Dusk)” (Detail), and “Kindred (Oil Man)”.

I tend to enjoy more works of art that don’t immediately tell me what they are about. I appreciate works that make me work to find out what they are trying to communicate. But I still enjoy a good dose of realism so the current show at the Owatonna Arts Center was a good investment of time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s