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‘Why Trucks?’ debuts on campus

Posted on 11.20.2013

A collection of recent works by artist  John Himmelfarb, titled “Why Trucks?” is  on display until Dec. 6 in the Christel Dehaan Fine Arts Gallery.
The opening reception on Nov. 4 was  what Gallery Coordinator and adjunct faculty of fine art Mark Ruschman called a generally positive reception.

“I think some people were taken by surprise with the subject matter and by some of the materials he [Himmelfarb]  was working with. But then I think they realized the work was of high quality … and came to a better understanding of what the artist was trying to say,” Ruschman said.
Himmelfarb is a Chicago-based artist who states that he works to convey his work across mediums from pencil sketches to woodwork.
According to an interview with The Huffington Post, Himmelfarb was visiting the Art Institute of Chicago when he came across a painting from one of his favorite artists, which prompted him to return to his studio and begin drawing.
“A truck emerged” Himmelfarb said in that interview.  “Without knowing why, I knew that this was a very important image for me.”
The truck proved its importance, as he has been working with the image since his visit in 2003. Ten years later, the collection, along with others, has been featured in more than 50 museums. The paintings range from more vibrant, abstract trucks to simple sketches, while the sculptures range from wood to what seems to be rusted iron. Although the exhibit is made up entirely of trucks, no two are the same.
According to Himmelfarb’s website, each truck is made up of different shapes, colors and materials and comprises more than traditional truck parts. The complexities in many of his works are meant to do more than just please the patron’s eye. Each is meant to evoke a different emotion and represent different sides of humanity.
The exhibit was chosen because the art department strives to bring variety to campus and to the students, according to Ruschman.
“With each exhibition, I try to bring something new and different to the students and to visitors as a whole,” Ruschman said. “And in an exhibition like ‘Why Trucks’ by John Himmelfarb, we’re doing just that. We’re bringing a subject in, trucks, that most people don’t associate with fine art.”
Ruschman said that the fine art department had thought that the subject matter would be impactful on students.
“He’s an artist I’ve known over many years,” Ruschman said. “He has a national reputation. Jim Viewegh and the staff would like to expose the students and the visitors to the gallery with things they otherwise may not see.”


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