Olin Galleries Presents Two New Exhibitions: Alice Ray Cathrall, “The Pink Cloud” and “More than a Passing Observation: William Louis Sonntag”

Alice Ray Cathrall, “The Pink Cloud” / Smoyer Gallery 

Image credit: Alice Ray Cathrall,
“The Pink Cloud,”
oil on linen, 2020, 18×24”

Alice Ray Cathrall’s studio practice concentrates on the exploration in oil of the perceptual experience of the 21st-century eye with images in light and space. Urgency is a key element in Cathrall’s works, and the artist incorporates new visions of deconstructing the traditional sea, land and skyscapes to enable a new approach of seeing and interacting with the environment. This solo exhibit features 30 works by Cathrall.  
Alice Ray Cathrall is a Roanoke College graduate who earned her Bachelor of Arts in 1974. Cathrall received a master’s degree in art from New York University with a concentration in 19th-century literature. Her work has been showcased in several national exhibitions. It is included in the permanent collection at Roanoke College and in private collections throughout the United States. 

“More than a Passing Observation: William Louis Sonntag and Landscape Mania in the United States” / Olin Gallery 

Image credit: William L. Sonntag (American, 1822-1900), “Fishing on the Potomac,” oil, 1855, 43×30” Olin Gallery

This exhibition, curated by Roanoke College Associate Professor of Art History Julia A. Sienkewicz and sponsored by the Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo Center for Art at Roanoke College, examines the work of landscape painter William Louis Sonntag (1822-1900), placing the artist in a rich context of the landscape mania in the United States during his lifetime.

Sonntag, whose career began in Cincinnati, Ohio, was closely identified with his landscape views taken in various locations along the Alleghany Mountains. He was also an important peer and colleague to the African American landscape painter, Robert S. Duncanson. This exhibition invites viewers to build a deeper understanding of the role that landscape painting played in the 19th-century United States, including the close association between “taking a view” and expressing defining ideas about self, society and nationhood.

The exhibition also reconsiders Sonntag’s role in the larger landscape painting tradition, considering his promotion of “Western” landscapes along the Alleghenies, his transatlantic travel, and the status of race as an element of his career. A catalog is being published to accompany the exhibition, authored by Sienkewicz. 
Sienkewicz holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor of Arts from Mt. Holyoke College. Sienkewicz is the author of “Epic Landscapes: Benjamin Henry Latrobe and the Art of Watercolor,” as well as articles on topics encompassing landscape history, pedagogy, and community-engaged teaching and learning. She is currently at work on her second monograph, “Forms of White Hegemony: Transnational Sculptors, Racialized Identity and the Torch of Civilization,” for which she was the 2022 Terra Foundation Rome Prize fellow at the American Academy in Rome. 

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