Art Exhibit: Follies of the Wise on view at Mary Baldwin’s Hunt Gallery

September 30, 2010

An exhibition of recent drawings by Charlottesville artist Rob Tarbell entitled Follies of the Wise will be on view at Mary Baldwin University’s Hunt Gallery October 4 – 29. The exhibition will feature drawings from the “Diagnostics” series, which are part of a large body of work entitled “The Smokes,” iconic drawings created with smoke captured on paper.

“‘Diagnostics’ originate from Generators, works that combine elements of the parlor game ‘Ghost of My Friends’ with the responses from the Rorschach Ink blot test. In ‘Ghost of My Friends,’ an artist signs their name in ink and then folds the paper underneath the signature. The resulting image is then interpreted exposing revelations about the signer,” Tarbell said.

“In the Generators, the Rorschach Test responses used to evaluate a test subject are inserted in place of the signature in ‘Ghost of My Friends.’ The resulting ink images are recreated using smoke captured on paper,” Tarbell said. The smoke is controlled and intentionally manipulated while still allowing and encouraging its feral nature to create random markings. Smoke suggests a clouding of thought or presence of a trick, which compounds the perception and interpretation of the suggested imagery.”

Over the past ten years, Tarbell has shown in eleven solo exhibitions and more than fifty group exhibitions throughout the United States, Korea, China, and England. His work has been featured in more than 50 articles in publications, and blogs, including Studio Visit (volumes 1, 4, 6 and 8) since 2007.

In 2007, he was awarded a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Artist Fellowship, received an Honorable Mention from the Loyola Works on Paper Exhibition at Loyola University, and was the recipient of a Purchase Award at the 31st Bradley International Print & Drawing Exhibition. In 2006, he was awarded the Drawing Award at the Peninsula Fine Art Center Biennial.

Tarbell received the BFA in Painting and Graphic Design from Auburn University in 1990. He earned the MFA in Painting and Drawing (1993) and an MS in Curriculum and Instruction (1994) from the University of Tennessee. Since 2000, he has taught art and design at Limestone College, James Madison University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Currently he is Assistant Professor of Art at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tarbell’s work is represented by Dolby Chadwick Gallery (San Francisco), Decorazon Gallery (Dallas), Reynolds Gallery (Richmond), and Les Yeux du Monde (Charlottesville).

A reception will be held for the artist on Monday, October 4, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. in Hunt Gallery. The public is invited to attend. Hunt Gallery is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary work in all media by regionally and nationally recognized artists. The Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the College’s academic year. Visit the Hunt Gallery web site at: