New exhibits feature Audubon’s works, brass rubbings

Published 9:04 am Friday, January 13, 2012

The Opening Reception for the dual art exhibition, “Selections from the Louise Hauss and David Brent Miller Audubon Collection” and “Brass Rubbings: From England and Scotland,” will be from 2 until 4 p.m. Sunday at the Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy. The public is invited.

The “Audubon Collection” is on loan from the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Art in Auburn. “Brass Rubbings: From England and Scotland” is from the collection of Ann Kelly Williams of Troy.

Richard Metzger, Johnson Center, executive director, said these are two of the most exciting exhibitions that the Center has featured.
“The Audubon Collection features first edition prints that are extremely well pulled, “Metzger said. “The plates were strong and the prints are outstanding.”

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Metzger said James Audubon came to America in 1804 and, in 1820, began devoting his talents to recording all the birds of America.
“We have to remember that when James Audubon was painting there was no camera for him to record his ‘subjects,’” Metzger said. “He sat in fields and observed and drew. He exhibited great patience by sitting in one place and observing birds in flight and at rest. Then he went back and worked from his drawings and from memory.

“Audubon’s workmanship is wonderful. All of the attention that he paid to detail is evident. His work had great value in this young country. The West had not been explored to speak of and his paintings showed the diversity of the vast scale of what North America is.”

Williams’ “Brass Rubbings” exhibit is equally impressive in that it preserves an art form that is no more.

“Tomb rubbings are no longer allowed in England and Scotland because they were wearing down the brass,” Metzger said. “The rubbings in this exhibition were done by Ann Williams years ago and were taken from tombs that date back several hundred years.”

Ten of these rubbings, with an appraised value of more than $15,000, have been donated to the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center by Williams.
“We are so appreciative of Ann’s generosity,” Metzger said. “There will never be any more rubbings of these tombs so this is a rare opportunity for people to see these this wonderful artwork and to see how the rubbings were done.”

Metzger said Williams has been a member of the Troy-Pike Cultural Arts Center Foundation since its inception.

“Ann is a member of the Troy Arts Council and its auxiliary,” he said. “She had many opportunities to travel and this is an opportunity for her to share her journeys. The ‘Brass Rubbings’ exhibit is on the lower level of the Johnson Center.

“The exhibit works well with the brick walls and arches on the lower level. We are very proud to have those exhibits at the Johnson Center and thank the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Art and Ann Williams for making them possible.”

The exhibits will run through February. Admission to the Johnson Center is free.