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Eastern to Host Figurative Painting Panel Discussion

Written by Tim Talley

DESIDERIO, Spiegel im Spiegel, 2010, 7 x 9 ft.jpgWillimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University will host a panel discussion on figurative painting at 3 p.m. on Nov. 3 in Shafer Auditorium in Shafer Hall; a reception will follow at 5:30 p.m. Shafer Hall is located at the corner of Windham and Valley Streets in Willimantic. The event is part of Eastern's University Hour series. The public is invited. Admission is free.

            Panel participants include Qimin Liu, associate professor of visual arts at Eastern, and renowned artists Vincent Desiderio, Sidney Goodman and Mel Leipzig. The panel will be moderated by Eastern's Akus Gallery director Elizabeth Peterson, and Gail Gelburd, chair of Eastern's visual arts department. The panel will also draw inspiration from "Solemn and Sublime," a selection of work of 13 American painters that is being exhibited at Akus Gallery from Oct. 21 to Dec. 2.  The presentation was developed from the catalog, "Selected Contemporary American Figurative Painters," edited by Liu and published by Tianjin People's Fine Arts Publishing House of China in 2009.

            Desiderio, a realist painter, is the senior critic at the New York Academy of Art. He has been awarded numerous awards, including becoming the first American artist to receive the International Contemporary Art Prize awarded by the Prince Pierre Foundation of the Principality of Monaco in 1996. Desiderio's works have been widely exhibited all over the world. He received bachelor's degrees in fine art and art history from Haverford College. GOODMAN, Maia with Raised Arm, 2000, 29 x 23 in.jpg

            Goodman, who uses abstract expressionism within his work, teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Much of his work is derived from personal experiences and the human nude figure. His depiction of the human body highlights the interest of realism which was rapid during the 1960s. Goodman has been awarded numerous awards and fellowships including an honorary degree from the Boston Art Institute. He received a degree in illustration from the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of Arts).

            Leipzig is a professor of visual arts at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in New Jersey. His work is dominated by portraits of his social circle and family members. Leipzig's work has been showcased in more than 24 one-person exhibitions, public collections and as part of group exhibitions across the country. He was elected to the National Academy, an honorary association of professional artists in New York City, and received a Fulbright Grant to Paris and four grants for painting from the New Jersey Council on the Arts. One of his many awards includes being the first recipient of the MCCC Distinguished Teaching Award in 1980.  Leipzig received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Yale University and Master of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute.     

            Curanaj teaches painting and drawing at the Grand Central Academy in New York City. He is an innovator in the worldwide graffiti scene and founder of the "D.F." crew. Before exclusively committing to his current work, Curanaj worked with Disney as a lead designer and painter. Curanaj received his bachelor's degree in fine arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York.


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