The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, OH is set to present the exhibition “The Paintings of John Mellencamp” from November 3, 2013 through January 12, 2014. The show will feature forty paintings – some never before seen by the public.
Says director and chief curator Dr. Louis Zona, “The Butler is pleased and proud to showcase these remarkable paintings by an American icon. Mellencamp’s very personal works, rooted in the traditions of European expressionism, display a unique understanding of art history, theory and composition.They are crafted with both skill and spontaneity by a great talent who is truly “twice blessed” with the creative gene.”
John Mellencamp was born in Seymour, Indiana, in 1951, a descendant of German immigrants. He played music from the age of fourteen, however his interest in painting began at ten years of age through observation of his mother, who painted with oils. His study at New York City’s Art Students League was superseded in the early 1980s by a skyrocketing musical career; however he continued to explore painting as a means of self-expression.
According to Mellencamp, “Initially I was interested in portraitures only. I started looking at Rembrandt and those guys.That genre of painting. That led me to Impressionism which I didn’t really have a feeling for. From that it went to German Expressionism which has stayed and remains the basic foundation for what I do. Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, the foundation of my influence, same as folk music is the foundation of my songs.”
“Every day that I walk up to my art studio and I complete a painting, I have something to show for my time,” says Mellencamp, who sees himself painting through old age. “I have millions of them in me.”
A national and international tour is being planned. Mellencamp’s first museum exhibition was held last spring at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.