If you want to get to the heart of how people feel about art, ask the kids. Three quarters of the way through the Grandma Moses exhibit at the Dayton Art Institute, you will find a slew on index cards left by students from around the Dayton Area giving their insight into the show. ‘Naive,’ ‘Outsider,’ ‘Less Educated,’ and ‘ a Totally Cool Old Lady.’ Agreed.
Within the first steps you take, you find that Moses made the best of her life. Stunning and intricate embroidered pieces, tight in their stitching and heavy in appearance, show her expertise. It’s meticulous and rich in textures. ‘Viewers get an opportunity to see where Moses relied on the traditional stitches she used, and where she departed into a creative territory all her own,’ says Dr. Aimee Marcereau DeGalan, Chief Curator at the DAI.
For Moses, born Anna Mary Robertson, it was a passion she would have to alter when arthritis took its toll. At age 78, she found a new way to express herself, paint. Wallpaper, fire boards, wooden slats all played backdrop to Moses’ unique, sweet and signature style.
The paintings, 50 are on display, capture innocence, excitement and simplicity, of which Moses was the master. Unlike the maturity of her handicraft, her paintings have a childish, soft sense that take you into the heart of farm life Moses was proud to share. Among the pieces in the, ‘American Sampler’ exhibit, you will find works by Woldemar Neufeld, ‘crazy quilts’ by Mary O’Brien and lithographs from Currier and Ives. At the top of my list, a sampler done in 1825 by the eight year old Catherine Sophia Van Horne from Piqua, and the calico apron worn by Grandma Moses when she painted.
Do not miss the video that accompanies the show, you get to know the ‘Totally Cool Old Lady’ who lived to 101, and explains everything from her take on death, to how we all are painters! When it comes to showcasing the best in visual arts, the Dayton Art Institute once again proves, they have it all ‘sewn up!
Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: Noon – 5:00 p.m.
Extended hours until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays
Museum Members: Free
Adults: $14, Seniors (60+): $11, Students (18+ w/ID) & Active Military: $11
Youth (ages 7-17): $6, Children (6 & under): Free