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The Feminine Mystique in Mid-Missouri, Part Two

PaintingThe works of two accomplished Mid-Missouri women artists will be featured in a new exhibition titled "The Feminine Mystique in Mid-Missouri, Part Two" opening March 25 at The Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art at Central Methodist University in Fayette.

Artists Claudia Graham, who lives near Fayette, and Linda Hoover, from the Sedalia area, will be present for a reception in their honor at the gallery from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 30.

Also being shown during the exhibition are three original paintings and a number of lithographs by Thomas Hart Benton from the gallery's permanent collection.

Graham, a native of Pennsylvania, began experimenting with various craft media in the early 1990s. She attended Mendocino (Calif.) College, where she studied painting and sculpture. One of her first exhibitions included 45 of her paintings in a one-person show titled "Spontaneous Humor" at the Ukiah (Calif.) Players Theater.

Other exhibitions in California displaying her unique style and sense of humor included "Mendocino Humor from Light to Dark," "The Absurd Silly and Unexpected" and "All Things Organic." Many of her works are included in collections throughout the United States.

Beginning in the early 1980s, Graham and her husband, Henry Graham, who is an adjunct professor of art at CMU, began traveling extensively throughout the world, including two Atlantic Ocean crossings and trips through the Caribbean and the Bahamas in their 33-foot sailboat named "Lionheart."

"The people and humor in my life, images from years of travel abroad in a sailboat with my family, as well as my dreams and imagination," Graham says in an artist's statement, "are the inspirations for my work."

AngelsGraham's work in the present exhibition includes her humorous oil on hardboard painting of a waitress serving wine. It is titled "Now, Waddya Want?" Graham says that, in addition to art, her interests include designing and decorating houses she and her husband have built, politics, local history, gardening and Mediterranean cooking.

Hoover, who works in the watercolor medium, earned her bachelor's degree in art education from the University of Central Missouri and her master's degree in education with an emphasis in art from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She currently teaches art at an elementary school three days a week and spends the rest of the week working in her art studio or at locations where she is working on murals, caricatures or portraits.

She recently accepted the position of superintendent of the Fine Art Department at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, which includes the development of a student division in art. Hoover shows and sells her art regularly. She has had her work admitted to numerous juried shows locally and nationally and has received numerous prizes and awards, including her most recent achievement - winning a competition for the cover of "Watercolor Magic," the quarterly magazine of the Missouri Watercolor Society.

Hoover says that her delight in working with watercolors was inherited from her mother. She says it frequently leads her to produce work that is often lighthearted, emphasizes the transparent brilliance of the medium and her own appreciation of color harmonies and joyous themes.