Art professor exhibits overseas oil paintings

by Luke Eldredge

Bringing landscape paintings and animal portraits from travels abroad, as well as from Washington, Whitworth art professor Gordon Wilson opened a new art exhibit at the Tinman Gallery Oct. 26.

The exhibit, titled “Brunch at Wasnick’s,” boasts 30 paintings from travels to Italy in the summer of 2010 and Germany in 2011, as well as landscapes from Ridgefield, Wash., and Vence, France.

The majority of the oil-on-linen paintings were crafted on site, while others were partially completed abroad and finished in the studio. A few of the paintings are purely studio-made from sketches and memory.

The paintings from Wilson’s stay with friends Ute and Klaus Wasnick in Adelberg, Germany, are the most recently made paintings in the exhibit. During his stay, Wilson frequently visited the neighbors, who own goats, chickens and rabbits.

“It was an experience just to go there,” Wilson said. “I was there to paint landscapes, but the animals were just so interesting.”

His works from Germany include landscape paintings, but Wilson primarily focused on the animals, which he described as social and fun. Paintings of goats at the brunch table, mingling chickens and crows in flight coalesce in Wilson’s first group of paintings with animals.

“I like the direction the paintings with the animals are taking,” said Bryan Oliver Gallery director and art professor Lance Sinnema. “They are very engaging and lively.”

One of the largest paintings in the exhibit displays three female goats and a chicken waiting at a set table with the fence and pasture behind them. The painting, Wilson said, is as life-size as he could make it and embodies the playfulness of the animals.

“We didn’t actually have them to brunch, we had them there in spirit,” Wilson said. “It was important they were on the table side of the fence — they weren’t, but it was much more fun that way.”

The larger paintings in his collection were too large to have been painted on site and thus were painted in Wilson’s studio. Though he was no longer among the animals, Wilson said that as they began to materialize in the painting, they kept him company.

“When I was painting them, it was as if I was confronting them, as if I was meeting them again,” Wilson said. “I’ve never had this much fun painting before.”

“Brunch at Wasnick’s” will be open through Nov. 25 at the Tinman Gallery at 811 W. Garland Ave.

Contact Luke Eldredge at

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