BEDFORD, Pa. – A retrospective art collection highlights the career of a local artist.
Twenty-five Year Survey, an exhibition by Hollidaysburg resident Michael M. Strueber, is on view through October 9 at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Bedford, located at the Anderson House, 137 E. Pitt St.
The show shows more than 80 watercolours, mixed media and drawings by the open-air painter.
“This exhibition is a culmination of the time and energy of his life’s work,” said Christi Draves, SAMA-Bedford Site Coordinator.
“Each gallery has its own thematic work.
“When you come in, you see still lifes and flowers.
“When you come up the stairs, it’s all the non-objectives, and they’re radical and bright. When you get to the top of the stairs and enter the gallery, you see all these landscape paintings of the world around us here in Pennsylvania. It’s such a variety.”
The exhibition features Strueber’s most recent paintings and the evolution of his style and influences, bringing together his diverse work over the past 25 years.
He said that when he retired more than 25 years ago, he did so to pursue painting full-time.
“Since that decision, I’ve been able to transform a significant part of my artistic endeavors from an evening, night, and weekend process into one where I’ve had unlimited time to observe, reflect, interpret, and to paint,” Strueber, 77, said.
“Most importantly, I can work in natural light every day and spend up to eight hours a day pursuing one of the loves of my life.”
He said some of his recent still lifes and flowers were influenced by spending the winter in Naples, Florida.
“Living part-time in Naples was like living in a vast and magnificent botanical garden full of exotic flora and fauna,” Strueber said.
“While Pennsylvania will always dominate my artistic vision, the abundance of natural light, brilliant color, and abundance of plants and birds have been inspirational.”
The exhibition also includes a number of abstract and non-representational pieces.
Strueber said the seven distinct and separate galleries at SAMA-Bedford provided him with the premier opportunity to exhibit his work alongside other dimensions of painting.
“I have selected a range of works inspired by the new millennium, paintings influenced by the music of (Igor) Stravinsky’s ‘The Firebird’, mixed media pieces inspired by a range of American quilts and a range of French Quilts have been influenced by pieces that reflect pure abstraction,” he said.
“It makes me humble to look back on what has made and still makes my life worth living.”
He said nature is his inspiration, but he doesn’t try to duplicate it.
“I paint what I try to understand,” said Strueber.
“I try to show how extraordinary nature is, even in your own backyard. Many of my recent pieces attempt to emphasize the grandeur of nature that almost all of us experience on a daily basis.”
Strueber received a bachelor’s degree from the former Clarion University. He studied education and fine arts and earned a master’s degree in education from Duquesne University and a master of arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
In addition to his work as a painter, Strueber was director of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art for 24 years.
Under his direction, the museum expanded to four facilities serving six counties in southwest and central Pennsylvania.
Strueber’s paintings are in more than 400 private and public collections in 38 countries.
Three events with Strueber will accompany the exhibition.
n A home, garden and gallery tour of Strueber’s home in Hollidaysburg will be offered from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm on August 20.
Guests are treated to a champagne brunch served in the art gallery, as well as a tour of the home, which is filled with antiques, contemporary accents, and furnishings in a variety of custom settings.
There will also be a guided tour of the 2.5 acre gardens which include annuals, perennials, topiaries, sculptures, ponds, rockeries, arbors and urns.
The afternoon focuses on interior and exterior design.
The tour is limited to 24 people.
Cost is $100 and registration is required by August 15 by calling 814-589-3020 or online at www.sama-art.org.
n A lunch a la Art with Strueber will be offered on August 31 from 12.00 to 14.00 at SAMA-Bedford.
A seated lunch break is offered halfway through the museum.
The cost is $15 and the number of participants is limited to 25 people.
Registration is required by August 28 by calling 814-589-3020 or online at www.sama-art.org.
n An artist critique with Strueber will take place on September 7th from 11am to 2pm in the museum.
Individuals are invited to bring two pieces of their work for Strueber to critique the pieces.
He is also looking for regional artists as future exhibitors, workshop leaders and consignors in the museum shop.
To register, call 814-589-3020 or online at www.sama-art.org.
Draves said the exhibition and events are a beautiful way to commemorate Strueber’s contributions to SAMA.
“He is what we are and he helped us build these five satellites, so without him we wouldn’t even be here today,” she said.
“We want to do him the honor of letting people into his house and showing them what he has there.
“The tour of the museum allows people to see a piece and if they wonder what he was thinking, they have the opportunity to ask him. We bring the community into an intimate setting and allow people to connect with the artist and the art.”
The museum’s opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Admission to the exhibition is free.
For more information, call 814-589-3020 or visit www.sama-art.org.