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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Exhibition Art, Inside & Out opens March 6

WHO: The Gallery at the Regional Arts Commission

WHAT: Art, Inside & Out: paintings by John Barton and Phillip Hampton

WHEN: Exhibition: March 6 through April 12
Opening reception: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. March 6
Gallery talk: Wednesday, March 25; 6:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. talk
Gallery hours: Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

WHERE: The Gallery at the Regional Arts Commission
6128 Delmar Boulevard on The Loop, St. Louis, MO 63112
Free parking in the lot behind The Pageant; metered street parking

Both John Barton and Phillip Hampton-the featured artists in the exhibition Art, Inside & Out-are painters, and art has been an integral aspect of their lives. Those lives, however, have been very different and their work is inevitably shaped by their individual experiences.

Barton, a self-taught or Outsider Artist and the son of a preacher, often has a spiritual message in his work which is inspired by his dreams and visions. As is typical of Outsider Artists, Barton had little or no contact with the institutions of the mainstream art world. He began drawing and painting at an early age but his art wasn't appreciated until late in life. "My paintings grew out of my experiences, thoughts, feelings. I'm 67 years old and I've wondered what all of this means. Needless to say, it's part of me. I've been an artist 'on the outside' maybe all my life," said Barton.

Grappling with such charged topics as human nature and religion, Barton's art is expressive and emotional-at times even tinged with pain. Hampton, on the other hand, approaches his art from an analytical and scientific point of view. A graduate from the Kansas City Art Institute and Professor Emeritus at Southern Illinois University, Hampton was one of three artists featured in last year's exhibition African American Abstraction: St. Louis Connections at the Saint Louis Art Museum. His abstract work is inspired by the self-imposed question "What is reality and what makes reality real?"

Through their work, Hampton and Barton each present us with unique and very personal points of view. Combined, their art shows us every aspect of life: the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.

Art, Inside & Out is curated by Laurie Carmody Ahner of Galerie Bonheur.

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