LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 28, 2014) — Empty parking spots along High Street, the Old Courthouse Square fountain and reflections off the side of the Lexington Financial Center were all scenes of downtown Lexington that artist Robert Tharsing viewed from his studio window during the 1990s. As a brief distraction from working on larger enterprises, the artist would transfer his bird's eye view of the city to small canvasses.
The retired University of Kentucky professor's Room with a View exhibit on display at the West Gallery in the UK Chandler Hospital represents a downtown Lexington in transition. His 14 landscape paintings are filled with light, color and geometric reflections, offering pleasing representations of ordinary buildings and sites that were scarcely populated during the '90s. The collection of oil paintings include depictions of the Old Courthouse, Cheapside Park, Kincaid Towers and other nameless concrete structures. This is the first time these pieces have been exhibited as a group.
“I have always painted the place I’m in," Tharsing said. "At that time, I would always go back to the window. I would see something in the architecture of a building across the street. Or, if I was caught and working on a large enterprise, I would turn again to the window. There was always something different in this view down onto the street.”
Known as a tireless and curious painter, Tharsing exercised a centuries-old landscape tradition for these pieces. He inhabited four downtown studios during the 12-year period of his career when the paintings were created. The exhibit serves as evidence of the changing landscape and evolution of the downtown area through the years.
Tharsing is a professor emeritus in the Department of Art at the University of Kentucky. In 1971, he joined UK where he twice served as chair of the Department of Art. Tharsing's work, which includes abstract paintings and sculpture, is included in many private and public collections nationwide.
Postcard packages containing 10 small-scale versions of Room with a View paintings will be on sale at the Ann Tower Gallery on Main Street and the Morris Bookshop on High Street. Each sheet is perforated so it can be torn out. The pieces will also be on sale at the Ann Tower Gallery after the exhibit closes in six months.
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