Owensboro museum to feature work of local artist

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By Kacie Goode

Colin Davis and Jaleel Parris were careful as they carried a large painting down the front steps of the Bardstown Art Gallery. The men, part of a team of four, spent the first part of Tuesday loading 86 pieces into trucks bound for the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art. Each piece is the creation of Jim Cantrell, who will be featured in an exhibition at the museum July 26 to Oct. 18.


“He does amazing work, doesn’t he?” said one of the team members as he helped secure the pieces for transport in the back of a box truck.

While the team was busy gathering the artwork, Cantrell’s wife, Jeannette, was checking off the pieces by name as they were carried out. She said the museum selected the work to feature after looking through hundreds of images of work that were available at the gallery or could be borrowed from other collections.

In a press release announcing the exhibition, the museum references Cantrell as one of the most important resident artists of the mid-20th and early 21st centuries. The show, called “Kentucky Master: Jim Cantrell,” is a 60-year retrospective that will focus on the artist’s oil paintings, but will also showcase a selection of watercolors, including 18 pieces from the Owensboro museum’s permanent collection.

Also lending to the exhibition are the Speed Art Museum of Louisville; the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science; The City of Owensboro Municipal Art Collection; Buzick Construction Company and numerous private collectors.

The new exhibition is only Cantrell’s most recent association with Owensboro. According to the release, he won three top purchase awards in a national Realism exhibit and competition there in 1974. In 1986, he also won Best in Show in another competition.

Cantrell has received several national accolades and has been honored with dozens of prestigious awards, commissions and solo exhibitions. He and his wife moved to Bardstown in 1971, where they established his studio and art gallery.

Cantrell has experience in oil and watercolor painting, printmaking, drawing and ceramics, and he also recently took up the art of building model ships from scratch.

The Owensboro exhibition will kick off Friday, July 26, with a free preview and gallery talk by Cantrell from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A free public demonstration on portrait painting will follow that Saturday at 2 p.m., and Cantrell will also lead a two-day watercolor seminar Aug. 17-18.

Want to attend?

Those interested in attending the free preview and gallery talk on July 26 should make a reservation by calling (270) 685-3181.

A reservation can also be made at that number for the August painting seminar, which is for participants 18 and older, and has a registration fee of $100. The seminar will include 10 hours of instruction, a final critique and a private gallery tour. Participants must bring their own supplies. The seminar is limited to 12 participants and the registration fee is due by Aug. 15.

General admission to the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art is free, though donations are encouraged. The museum is open noon-5 p.m. Central time Tuesday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For more information, visit omfa.us.