John Mellencamp brings his mixed-media exhibition Paintings and Assemblages to The Mansfield Art Center June 26. He is a member of the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame, a recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, ASCAP Foundation’s Champion Award, The Woody Guthrie Award, the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and most recently, the Founders Award, the top honor assigned by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Mellencamp is also an accomplished painter, collector, and activist. Paintings and Assemblages documents America’s heart and soul, exposing unsettling but beautiful truths with an attitude of defiance and narrative sensibility.
As his musical career flourished, Mellencamp began to paint earnestly in the 1980’s. His affinity for portraiture shares a kinship with the German Expressionism of the early twentieth century. Artists such as Otto Dix and Max Beckmann are often sighted as influences. Like his music, Mellencamp’s paintings are carefully composed through the structural requirements of harmony, rhythm, and order. His large-scale oil portraits and mixed-media pieces examine subjects that speak to the viewer with a voice as powerful as his songs.
John Mellencamp isn’t trying to make us feel comfortable. His paintings are at times unsettling, and confrontational. John is a consummate storyteller. In his paintings, he sets the stage and puts the story in motion, often allowing the painting itself to steer its own course, only to become complete when connecting to the individual viewer. The characters are gritty and raw, much like Mellencamp’s voice, some pulled from personal experiences, while others are imagined and brought to life in the paintings. It becomes instantly apparent through the sheer volume and scale of the work, the expressionist strokes, and somber tones, that this is a person whose mind is constantly at work. His paintings are not only about the creative act, but also about a catharsis of thoughts. John Mellencamp is in a constant state of purging his heart into his music and art and is equally adept at expressing himself in both places. Paintings and Assemblages brings together approximately fifty original works, many never displayed before, representing a varied selection from hundreds of his paintings.
He has exhibited his work in galleries and museums across the United States including: The Butler Institute of American Art- Youngstown, OH; The Tennessee State Museum- Nashville, TN; The Museum of Art-Deland, FL; ACA Galleries- NY; and The Morris Museum of Art- Augusta, GA. The Mansfield Art Center will be showcasing a full collection of Mellencamp’s work, including recent paintings, in the Elizabeth T. Black Gallery from June 26- Aug 7, 2022. An Opening Reception is scheduled for Sunday, June 26 from 1-5pm; featuring food trucks and craft beer from The Phoenix Brewery.
This exhibition is sponsored by: Park National Bank, Westfield Bank, Glenn McClelland, The Phoenix Brewing Company, Metal Conversions, and The Ohio Arts Council