A current exhibit at Ohio University-Chillicothe by local artist Alan Gough commemorates his 50 years as an artist with a flair for capturing the beauty of southern Ohio and ability to see the interesting perspectives of everyday situations. The show includes more than 80 pieces, most of which are oil-based works, as well as pen and ink, pencil, charcoal and cont’e crayon drawings.
The exhibit is on display through Nov. 30 in the Patricia Scott Memorial Gallery in Bennett Hall. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. The gallery is free and open to the public.
Gough has been a full-time artist since 1959, when he returned to his hometown of Chillicothe to establish a studio in his home after attending the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He grew up on Fifth Street, less than four blocks from the current OU-C campus.
Much of his artistic inspiration is found in the ongoing dynamics of nature in this region, which is reflected in his work.
“This area and the changing seasons especially catch my attention. Each day is unique,” Gough said. “Growing up in Ross County and experiencing the seasonal variances, along with contrasting topography, has had an indelible effect upon my work.”
“This region has a quiet, understated beauty, which intrigues me. There is universality about the Ross County area,” he said.
Several of the pieces in the current exhibit depict the stark beauty of winter days.
“There is a barebones quality to winter that I especially like. In winter, you get a skeletal look at nature,” Gough said. “It’s like a string quarter or trio in that you can hear each individual instrument. In the summer and fall, with the foliage, the area landscape is more like a full orchestra.”
Gough’s appreciation of classical music comes through in his art.
“As with a piece by Bach, Mozart or another great musician, I want there to be a rhythm and a sense of composition. I strive to infuse my work with a feeling of flow, harmony, balance and logical progression,” he noted.
Gough’s artistic reflections of nature have required him to work under inclement conditions in the field to capture the vibrancy of the moment. At other times, he has completed the work in his studio.
“Nature does not stand still. The challenge is to keep the image in my mind until I get back to the studio,” he explained. “More than just an image, I want to convey a presence and a feeling of actually being there when people see my artwork so that they can feel the situations and circumstances that occurred at that particular moment.”
Beyond landscapes inspired by nature and this region, the OU-C exhibit includes portraits, self-portraits and images from other places Gough has lived or visited, such as Chicago, Canada, Florida, Michigan and California.
The artist’s statement points out that his work is a response, both spontaneous and reflective, to the effects that the elements and seasons have upon the land of southern Ohio. In the statement, Gough further adds that his emotional attachment to the region drives his strong desire to communicate its qualities.
“The campus is proud to host this exhibit of outstanding work by an acclaimed artist from this region,” OU-C Dean Richard Bebee said. “This exhibit supports the cultural climate on campus and offers inspiration to students and others who have the opportunity to view Alan’s work. It is fulfilling to see the beauty of this region portrayed so well.”
This is the third exhibit that Gough has displayed in the Bennett Hall gallery, with the first two occurring in 1969 and in the early 1990s.
Gough continues to practice his craft in his Chillicothe studio six days a week and still feels inspired by the southern Ohio region.
“This is where I choose to reside and to do my work. The inspiration is right here,” he said.