August 19, 2008

Abrahamson’s paintings to be on display

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The paintings of Carbondale artist Roy Abrahamson will be on display this fall at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center.

Abrahamson has utilized a variety of techniques and styles throughout the years to create his artwork. In the early years, around 1950, he used tempera paints on paper before switching to watercolors, casein paints, oil and later acrylics. He earned his bachelor’s in art education at the University of Minnesota and his master’s in elementary and secondary education at San Francisco State University. While earning his doctorate in art education from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City, he learned to etch, create silkscreen prints and craft woodcarvings.

In retirement, he most commonly expresses himself in watercolor or acrylic paintings. A combination of wet and dry techniques goes into his watercolor paintings and he also notes that when painting with acrylics, he utilizes brushes and a palette knife to apply the paint.

“I express images formed in my mind based on things seen around me rather than trying to reproduce things that are observed,” Abrahamson said. “I do not copy pictures by others or copy photographs. I strive to form unified spatial, line, shape and color elements in my work. I try to evaluate first efforts with a subject and then I try to solve problem parts in a new and hopefully improved version.”

Abrahamson’s career began with eight years teaching in the San Francisco School District. From there it was on to SIUC where he was an art education faculty member in the School of Art and Design from 1965 until retiring in 1996. Various professional journals have published Abrahamson’s articles and he’s presented papers at conferences ranging from the state to the international level. President of the Illinois Art Education Association in 1992, Abrahamson has also taught art education in Finland, researched art and special education in Germany, and recently edited a posthumous book, “Consciousness of Artistic Form,” by art educator Henry Schaefer-Simmern, Abrahamson’s mentor.

“Indeed, throughout my adult life I have been involved with visual art as a teacher and as an artist,” Abrahamson said. “I owe much to my wife Marianne, for all of her support and encouragement over the years.”

There was a retrospective art exhibit of Abrahamson’s work at SIUC’s University Museum in April 2007, but Abrahamson said the Dunn-Richmond exhibit will feature entirely different paintings, etchings and drawings. Visitors can enjoy Abrahamson’s works in the art atrium of the center, located at 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road in Carbondale, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, Sept. 2 through Oct. 27.