Dig Baton Rouge

Not Over Yet

By Rickey Miller

Could highly renowned artist Edward Pramuk possibly be having his last solo exhibition? Well, not quite.

Rumors of the 79-year-old artist’s public finale have swirled, but Pramuk dismisses them. Though his upcoming exhibition to be held at the Gallery at the Manship Theatre on Feb. 12, will possibly be the last time he exhibits large-scale works, he’s far from putting down the paintbrush for good.

“Stopping painting is not an option for me,” stated Pramuk. “I think of it as a way of life that is part of my nature.”

The Ohio native began studying painting, drawing, and printmaking at the Akron Art Institute, obtained his masters from Kent State University, and traveled to Queens College for his graduate studies. But Pramuk has made his longest lasting home here in Baton Rouge. For 35 years, Pramuk taught various art courses at LSU and was instrumental in the development of graduate pedagogical studies. His works include Space, Myth and Memory, Prelude, and Circe In Louisiana. His most recent double collection, Illuminations and Spring, evolved from Pramuk’s experiences throughout the past five years.

According to Pramuk, his Illumination series consists of paintings dating from when he underwent a hemorrhage stroke in 2010.

“During my two days of unconsciousness, I experienced a state of solitary bliss,” Pramuk said. “I felt myself being transported into a region of golden light that was very welcoming and pleasant.”

Pramuk explains that rather than illustrating this moment of euphoria in words, he created these series of paintings to portray “the energy and solace of that moment.”

In his Spring series, Pramuk describes the art as “a group of abstract paintings that explore perceptions of late day light, experienced by moving through landscape at sundown.” His inspiration for the collection of paintings is drawn from a walk he took in early spring of 2014 around the University Lakes. He describes this moment as a “message [he] took to heart.”

“The paintings in this exhibition are geometric-abstractions,” Pramuk said. “I like to organize my forms on simple geometric structures, which helps me send a clear message.”

When asked what type of dialogue he hopes to open with his audience during his show, Pramuk said he openly welcomes the type of back-and-forth that comes with every exhibition.

“This one is no different,” Pramuk said. “I like it when viewers have reactions that expand my intentions into areas of personal discovery. The art-experience is often mysterious…I respect that.”

Illumination and Spring will be presented at The Gallery at Manship Theatre in the Shaw Center for the Arts from 6-8 p.m. this upcoming Thursday, Feb. 12. Hudson Keller Trio will be entertaining and there will be light refreshments and complimentary wine.

As for what’s next for the artist…

“It is hard to say for sure, but I have no plans for any 7 x10 ft. paintings right now,” stated Pramuk.

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