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Edna Schenk: The Artist as Traveler

The paintings of a native Missourian who is a prominent artist on the West Coast will be featured at an upcoming exhibition at The Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art on the Central Methodist College campus in Fayette.

Titled "Edna Schenk: The Artist as Traveler," the exhibition will feature 33 paintings done by Schenk over the past four decades as she traveled throughout western Europe and the Mediterranean. These include oils, pastels and watercolors painted while she was in England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and other European countries.

"There is much excitement about this exhibition and about Edna coming back to Fayette for the show," Geist said. Schenk, a resident of Ventura, Calif., will be present for a special reception in her honor at The Ashby-Hodge Gallery from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., April 25. She is a 1935 graduate of Central Methodist College, where she received her bachelor of arts degree. She also studied art at the University of Wisconsin and San Fernando Valley State College. Following graduation from CMC, Schenk taught art at Boonville High School from 1937 to 1942, before accepting a teaching position in Illinois. She later moved to California, where she was an art teacher in the Ventura Public School System from 1952 to 1972. Throughout her teaching career and after retiring, Schenk has remained active as an artist.

Schenk began the first of her many trips abroad to Europe in the 1950s during summer vacations from teaching, later staying for up to a year during sabbatical leaves. She lived among the native inhabitants, drawing her inspiration not only from what she saw but also from the many people she came to know and her differing cultural experiences in each locale. She would spend her time drawing, painting and viewing the Old Masters, as well as seeking out the works of contemporary artists, and would return to the United States each time with sketchbooks filled with material for future paintings.

Schenk's paintings have been on exhibition as far away as the Diogeneous Art Gallery in Athens, Greece, and throughout the West Coast of the United States, including the Bryant Hale Gallery in Palm Springs, Calif., and the Ventura County Government Center. Her works now hang in more than 300 private collections in this country and several collections in Europe. The subject matter of her European works includes many well-known settings, such as the Roman Forum, the Greek Island of Corfu, Bern, London, Venice, Paris, Berlin, as well as portraits of Pope John Paul II in a crowd in Naples and a young woman on the Isle of Crete. Geist and former Ashby-Hodge Gallery curator Thomas L. Yancey described the show as "works of Romantic Realism with poetical qualities."