'Long Time Passing' exhibit chronicling farm life opens at Fine Line's Kavanagh Gallery

  • "American Pastoral 06" by artist Roberta Condon of Portage, Wis., is one of the works featured in the "Long Time Passing" exhibit at Fine Line Creative Arts Center's Kavanagh Gallery. The collection also features work by fellow Wisconsin artist Lorraine Ortner-Blake.

    "American Pastoral 06" by artist Roberta Condon of Portage, Wis., is one of the works featured in the "Long Time Passing" exhibit at Fine Line Creative Arts Center's Kavanagh Gallery. The collection also features work by fellow Wisconsin artist Lorraine Ortner-Blake. Courtesy of Roberta Condon

 
Daily Herald report
Posted10/15/2021 6:00 AM

This week, the Kavanagh Gallery at Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles opens an exhibit that is billed as a "visual chronicle of farm life in the Midwest, past and present."

"Long Time Passing" features the work of artists Lorraine Ortner-Blake and Roberta Condon. The exhibit runs Oct. 14 through Nov. 20. On Saturday, Oct. 16, there will be an artist talk and presentation from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and a gallery reception from 4 to 6 p.m.

 

Preregistration at form.jotform.com/212655723253050 is required for the artist talks; no registration is required for the gallery reception. Refreshments will be served at each event. For information visit fineline.org/pages/longtimepassing.

Lorraine Ortner-Blake's "Courting Grandma Minnie" is part of "Long Time Passing," an exhibit at Fine Line Creative Arts Center's Kavanagh Gallery that chronicles farm life in the Midwest.
Lorraine Ortner-Blake's "Courting Grandma Minnie" is part of "Long Time Passing," an exhibit at Fine Line Creative Arts Center's Kavanagh Gallery that chronicles farm life in the Midwest. - Courtesy of Fine Line Creative Arts Center
About 'Long Time Passing'

Midwest farming changes constantly. In our lifetimes there is a shift from small acreage, family farms to two extremes: very large and very small farms.

These changes in the Midwest landscape -- physically and economically -- moved artists Roberta Condon and Lorraine Ortner-Blake to present together two series of paintings to focus on the struggles, joys, and challenges of Midwest farm life. The exhibit's title is a phrase from a Pete Seeger song. Both passionate about their rural history and surroundings, the artists seek to chronicle the past and present and to protect the future.

Lorraine Ortner-Blake's "Blackbirds" is part of "Long Time Passing," an exhibit at Fine Line Creative Arts Center's Kavanagh Gallery that chronicles farm life in the Midwest.
Lorraine Ortner-Blake's "Blackbirds" is part of "Long Time Passing," an exhibit at Fine Line Creative Arts Center's Kavanagh Gallery that chronicles farm life in the Midwest. - Courtesy of Fine Line Creative Arts Center
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"Both artists have books to accompany the gallery show, which will be available for purchase at both events on Saturday, Oct. 16, and for the duration of the gallery show," said Eileen Collins, executive coordinator at Fine Line.

Lorraine Ortner-Blake's "Madonna and Calf."
Lorraine Ortner-Blake's "Madonna and Calf." - Courtesy of Fine Line Creative Arts Center

• Mom's Reminiscences: 26 paintings in gouache by Lorraine Ortner-Blake

Ortner-Blake presents the familial view of life on the farm through her mother's reminiscences and the memories of her own childhood on the farm. The intimate and detailed paintings are worked in gouache with a primitive simplicity. The work distorts viewpoint and perspective and the images speak in a warm whisper tracing strong connections within the family and the roles each member took on.

"This collection ... is based on the stories Mother told of her early years in Iowa farm country and also our memories of the Wisconsin farm she and Dad devoted their life's work to, including, of course, the chickens," Ortner-Blake wrote in her introduction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Roberta Condon's "American Pastoral 21" is part of "Long Time Passing," an exhibit at Fine Line Creative Arts Center's Kavanagh Gallery that chronicles farm life in the Midwest.
Roberta Condon's "American Pastoral 21" is part of "Long Time Passing," an exhibit at Fine Line Creative Arts Center's Kavanagh Gallery that chronicles farm life in the Midwest. - Courtesy of Fine Line Creative Arts Center

• American Pastoral: 26 paintings in soft pastel by Roberta Condon

As a perfect foil to Ortner-Blake's whisper, Condon's modern abstract works shout out the stark landscape of the Wisconsin farms and fields, presenting richly vibrant pastels in large contemporary splashes of line and color.

Roberta Condon's "American Pastoral 11" is featured in "Long Time Passing," an exhibit at Fine Line Creative Arts Center's Kavanagh Gallery that chronicles farm life in the Midwest. The exhibit runs Oct. 14-Nov. 20.
Roberta Condon's "American Pastoral 11" is featured in "Long Time Passing," an exhibit at Fine Line Creative Arts Center's Kavanagh Gallery that chronicles farm life in the Midwest. The exhibit runs Oct. 14-Nov. 20. - Courtesy of Fine Line Creative Arts Center

"At the time of my compilation of this book, and the painting of this series, Wisconsin is losing over two family farms a day. We still are," Condon wrote. "The paintings are an ode to the beautiful pastoral scenes in the Midwest, and a tribute to those who work the land and tend the animals. The writings are a warning that one day we will look up and those scenes will be lost."

Roberta Condon's "American Pastoral 03."
Roberta Condon's "American Pastoral 03." - Courtesy of Fine Line Creative Arts Center

The Fine Line Creative Arts Center is at 37W570 Bolcum Road, just west of Randall Road in St. Charles. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is free. For details, call (630) 584-9443 or email info@fineline.org.

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