Mason’s Odeon Theater has been a vital hub of artistic activity in this rural community for over 85 years. The theater’s main focus of providing area citizens with a continuous stream of high quality movies has been expanded over time to include an assortment of live musical and theatrical performances. In January of 2012 the theater’s repertoire will once again be broadened to include an exciting and captivating Artist Series, featuring a set of informal presentations on the lives and work of four popular and highly successful American visual artists. Artists to be featured in the series are Georgia O’Keeffe (January 10), Charles M. Russell (January 17), Grandma Moses (January 24), and Andrew Wyeth (January 31). Each presentation will include a fascinating and comprehensive biographical sketch of the artist, numerous examples of his/her work projected on the theater’s screen, along with a critical discussion of selected pieces. Making the presentations will be Dr. Robin E. Clark of Mason, a local artist and retired university professor. Clark selected each of the artists to be included in the series on the basis of his/her appeal to the community at large and its rural lifestyle.
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) first fell in love with life on "the plains" after teaching school in Amarillo, TX for several years and, subsequently, never could get the experience out of her system until she finally left New York and moved back west. Her Southwestern art is testimony to a love for her stark surroundings in New Mexico and the western lifestyle. However, contrary to popular belief, O’Keeffe was not a hermit in her later years, but a world traveler. During the last ten years of her life, she lost most of her eyesight to macular degeneration but continued, as best she could (with assistance), to produce art.
Charles M. Russell (1864-1926), "the cowboy artist," was a complete greenhorn when he first arrived in Montana and began his career as a youthful, not-so-successful, night-herder of sheep. Charlie, as he was known, appeared on the scene when the ways of the old west were beginning to yield to the ravages of modernization. Hating that fact, he captured (in his artwork and writings) as much as he could of life as it was on the range before the destructive advent of such things as fences, railroads, and overpopulation. A gifted storyteller, it was often said that people would rather listen to him tell a tale than his friend, Will Rogers.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses (1860-1961), better known as Grandma Moses, began seriously painting while in her seventies. Although self-taught (she had no formal schooling in art), she had always had a knack for decorating objects around her home. Moses painted in what is called a "primitive," folk art style, featuring a simple, childlike portrayal of everyday people and events. A friend of Norman Rockwell, Moses captured in paint a happier way of life in rural America that today is rapidly being lost. Traveling exhibitions of her work have been displayed by major museums all over the world. In 2006, one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million dollars, her highest-selling work to date.
Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) came from a prominent family of artists. Although he never attended a public school, as a child Wyeth’s artistic skills and interests were constantly promoted at home. Following the trauma of his father’s untimely death, Wyeth began viewing his small town neighbors and their everyday surroundings differently, and they became the subjects for his highly realistic, symbolic, and emotionally expressive paintings. In 2007, two years before his own death at age 91, Wyeth was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush.
The series’ presenter, Dr. Robin E. Clark, has been a Mason resident for the past six years. She holds a Ph.D. in Fine Arts (Texas Tech University), a program of study in Art, Music, Theater, and Philosophy, along with an added emphasis in Educational Psychology. Robin, a charter member of the Fine Arts Association of the Hill Country, has maintained an active exhibition record for over 30 years, featuring her award-winning artwork. She is an avid researcher, published author, international public speaker, and enthusiastic arts advocate. In addition to producing and exhibiting her own artwork, Robin selectively conducts art workshops, makes art history presentations, curates exhibitions, and judges art competitions throughout the state.
All events in the "Artist Series" will be held on Tuesday evenings (Jan. 10-31) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Odeon, in order to prevent disruption of the theater’s weekend movie schedule. Format for each of the events will consist of an hour of presentation, a half hour break (with light refreshments), and a half hour of wrap-up, including a time for questions and answers. A charge of $10 per person/per event will apply. If purchasing in advance for all four events (on or before January 17), a transferable pass will be available for the reduced price of $35. Student tickets (ages 16 and older) will also be available for purchase at $5 per person/per event or a transferable pass for the reduced price of $15.00. Tickets are available at the Odeon Box Office just prior to the art event or can be purchased in advanced from Cocoa Luna and the Mason Chamber of Commerce starting January 2, 2012.
All proceeds from the series are to benefit the ongoing preservation and maintenance of the Odeon Theater.