Press Room

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March 25, 2010
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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Fine Art Gallery, Art and Design Building, George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus

April 5-May 3, 2010

Reception: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 from 6-8 p.m.


 FAIRFAX, Va., March 25, 2010 – Reminiscent of the figurative paintings by the great 20th century painters Giorgio de Chirico and Balthus and the Italian Renaissance masters Piero della Francesca and Giotto, the paintings of Lani Irwin and Alan Feltus investigate the human form and the relationships among figures and the space in the painting, as well as the relationship between the figures and the viewer. George Mason University’s School of Art presents Irwin and Feltus’ painting exhibition in the Fine Arts Gallery in the Art and Design Building on Mason’s Fairfax Campus from April 5 through May 3. An opening reception will be held on Wednesday, April 7 from 6-8 p.m.

Although the beautiful and haunting figures in Irwin and Feltus’ seem to be in the middle of a gesture or pose, there is no story associated with action in the painting and the interpretation of what is occurring between the figures in the painting is left to the viewer. “Throughout the exhibit, the paintings of Feltus and Irwin depict models both solitary and clustered in groups interacting with one another, engaged in activities that are held suspended, encrypted with a narrative that the viewer must enter into in order to decipher,” says arts writer Judith Harris, Ph.D. “They entice the viewer to enter the life of the painting where through the presence of another, in this case the viewer, there is set into motion a stage of figures looking both in, through, and outwards.” Harris explains that in observing the painting, “the feeling that overcomes us is one of being looked at; the persistent gaze that conforms the self in ever waking moment.”

Originally from the Washington Metropolitan area, Feltus and Irwin, who are husband and wife, now reside in the countryside on the outskirts of the Umbrian city of Assisi in Italy, a place of pilgrimage for admirers of St. Francis and the painter Giotto, who was an early figure in the Italian Renaissance and among the couple’s greatest influences. Feltus received his B.F.A. from The Cooper Union in New York City and his M.F.A. from Yale University, while Irwin studied abroad at the University of Maryland’s Munich, Germany campus and the University of Grenoble in France, before completing her B.A. and M.F.A. at American University. After graduation, she taught at Northern Virginia Community College and Trinity College in Washington, D.C. Feltus taught briefly at The Dayton Institute in Ohio, before accepting a teaching position at American University, where he was an associate professor from 1972-1984. In 2006, Irwin and Feltus were Visiting Artists-in-Residence at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Md. Irwin and Feltus are both recipients of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, and Feltus has also received a National Endowment of the Arts Individual Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant in Painting and a Rome Prize Fellowship, among other awards. They have exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across the United States and Europe, and their work is in the public collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., the Bayly Museum in Charlottesville, Va. and The Peace Museum in Chicago. 

About the Galleries

The Galleries are located on Mason’s Fairfax campus. The Johnson Center Gallery is located on the main level of the George W. Johnson Center in the heart of the campus. The School of Art Gallery is located on the ground floor of the Art and Design Building. The Mason Hall Alumni Atrium Gallery is on the ground floor of Mason Hall on Mason Pond Drive. Galleries are open Mon. through Fri. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., unless otherwise noted, and by appointment. The Concert Hall Gallery is open Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Gallery Program is a division of Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, home to the Center for the Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University
Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.