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"The Great Gate" by WIU Art Professor Bruce Walters
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Art by WIU's Walters to be Displayed at QC RiverCenter

February 13, 2013

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MACOMB, IL – "Pictures at an Exhibition," a series of 10 themed drawings by Western Illinois University Art Professor Bruce Walters, will be on display at The RiverCenter in Davenport, IA, Friday, March 1 – Saturday, March 9.

The drawings are based on work by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky and work by his friend, artist and architect Viktor Hartmann. The exhibition will conclude with a performance of Mussorgsky's work by the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. March 9 at the Adler Theatre in Davenport.

In 1874, Mussorgsky visited an art exhibition in honor of Hartmann, who died unexpectedly at the age of 39. Because he was so devastated by his friend's untimely death, Mussorgsky wrote a piano suite that musically illustrated Hartmann's pencil sketches and paintings. The work has a recurring theme that represents the viewer's progress from artwork to artwork.

An orchestral arrangement of the suite was written by Maurice Ravel in 1922.

Walters said The RiverCenter exhibition is his interpretation of Hartmann's original artworks.

"To tie the series together, I used a central figure carrying a conductor's baton," Walters said. "The series takes its first unexpected turn in the third drawing when this figure is drawn through a framed artwork by an image of a ballerina – entering a world apart from the gallery."

Hartmann sketched a scene from the ballet, "Trilby." The ballet's cast of characters included Svengali and influenced the 1910 novel, "The Phantom of the Opera."

Walters said Quad Cities landmarks are placed throughout the series, including Moline's old train station and the entrance to Davenport's Oakdale Cemetery.

"I just tried to keep faithful to the spirit of the music and descriptions of the artwork," Walters said. "I also tried to weave a progression so one reads into the other."

The series can be seen online at The drawings by Walters were started in late November and were completed in January.

Walters has created numerous exhibitions in the region, including others in the Quad Cities and Macomb.

In 2012, he created a 100-foot wide NASA projection on the exterior of the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, IA. His work has been displayed in over 100 solo, invitational and competitive exhibitions, primarily in the Midwest, but also in England, Germany, Japan, New York and Washington, D.C.

The RiverCenter exhibition was made in cooperation with MidCoast Fine Arts.

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