Russell rustles Rankin

Rankin Art Gallery Artist of the Month Russel Chatham to visit Ferris

This month at the Rankin Art Gallery the works of landscape artist and Montana native Russell Chatham are being featured.

Chatham will be flying in to make an appearance at Ferris Sept. 7-11 to discuss his life, work, and do a book signing, as he is also a well-published author of various short stories and articles.

For some students unfamiliar with the background of Chatham and his work, the exhibit may seem unappealing or monotonous. But for those with different tastes, and especially those who are familiar with lithography, Chatham’s work is viewed with admiration and reverence.

Currently at the gallery, multiple lithographs are on display from the Muskegon Museum of Art, including a 12-season landscape collection and other series such as Chatham’s three views of Mt. Aspiring in New Zealand, as well as an oil painting.

Junior Tim Geib was particularly fond of the 12-season lithograph collection, and respected the full color lithography.

“Lithography is hard to do and it’s usually done on a gray scale. I’ve never seen full color lithography before. It really works together as a whole exhibit. I’m impressed,” said Geib.

To create a lithograph, a drawing of the entire picture must first be made. This drawing is then made into a metal plate, which acts as the base for everything after it. Each subsequent color after that must be a separate hand drawn plate, and creating each plate can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 30 hours.

“It’s ridiculously meticulous. It wouldn’t be nearly as special if it was just a painting,” said Geib.

Responsible for choosing the artist of the month, Rankin Art Gallery Art Director Carrie Weis puts much thought into not only the work of the artist, but also the artist’s ability to teach and enlighten students.

“I think it’s important that the gallery be an educational tool and not just a visual experience, and so I book exhibits for the gallery season based on the materials the artists are working with and the style of their art,” said Weis.

With Chatham, Weis certainly found what she was looking for.

“I curate exhibitions based on the originality and diversity of style. I look for professional artists; they can be self-taught or degree holding, seasoned professionals or newcomers; as long as their work is of high quality. Russell Chatham fits this criteria perfectly,” said Weis.

Art students and other disciplined students alike are welcomed to come enjoy Chatham’s collection.

Freshman Kelly McCarthy, a pre-nursing student, dropped by to admire Chatham’s work and found it quite soothing.

“They’re all pretty, soft, calm and foggy, and I like the use of light colors. It’s very relaxing. He captures the feel of each place. I like it a lot,” said McCarthy.

Weis agreed that Chatham’s depictions of nature reach beyond the simplicity of the theme and the land itself, personifying each location and allowing the observer to have an idea of what it would be like to be there. In the art gallery’s newsletter, Weis shared the following regarding Chatham’s creations:

“When I observe his work, I am reminded of how I feel when wandering through our natural world and not just of what I see while there.  Russell has the ability to capture the mood of a place,” said Weis.

For more information on Chatham and his appearance at Ferris, contact Weis at n