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The National Park Service and the Gettysburg National Military Park hosted a major one-man exhibit by Civil War and historical artist Paul R. Martin III during the Fall and Summer of 2000. The exhibit was in the Cyclorama Center Gallery and featured Mr. Martin’s Gettysburg series of Landscape Drawings. The art exhibit, titled “The Vision Place of Souls”, opened on June 6, 2000 and ran through November 19, 2000.
The opening reception was on Tuesday, June 6, 2000 from 7-9 PM at the Gallery and was attended by over 100 people.
19 framed color pencil artworks were included in the show. Each piece was accompanied by an abbreviated artists’ statement, first person accounts, poetry and abbreviated historical notes. The battlefield views were arranged in chronological order, designed to give the viewer a sequential running account of the three days battle and its aftermath. The accompanying statements placed each image into its proper geographical and historical context.
Paul spends some time with Kevin Harding.
The exhibit placed the battle into historic perspective and attempted to address its significance to the American people as we move into the 21st Century. Mr. Martin strives to evoke the contemplative atmosphere of the Battlefield that draws so many people to the site. The artwork is intended to commemorate the thought-provoking nature of the Gettysburg National Military Park.
The American Civil War has scarred the collective consciousness of our Nation and its people. My Gettysburg series of drawings are intended to sensitively touch that consciousness and gently heal those scars. I have attempted to bring a unique perspective to Civil War art that focuses on the landscapes and monuments of the battlefield. The serene beauty of the Gettysburg Battlefield symbolizes the strength and grandeur of our Nation, forged by fire and reunited after five terrible years of war. The bronze and granite sculpted warriors stand as timeless witnesses to the struggle that raged across the landscape in 1863. They remind us of the great cost in human lives exacted upon our Country during those tumultuous years.
Paul Martin chats with Janice and Tom Grove.
The artwork is also intended to commemorate the essence of a Gettysburg National Military Park visit. Like countless other people, I feel drawn by a compelling force to Gettysburg. My research and understanding of the horror and sacrifices that took place here, combined with the spiritual and tranquil beauty of the quiet fields, has inspired my Landscapes. My drawings are a contemporary and impressionistic approach to a romantic theme; contemplative and meditative while paying tribute to the valor and honor of the men who fought and died here over 135 years ago. They are respectful of the heroic deeds but also attempt to reflect the awareness of the tragic, sorrowful and poignant atmosphere that pervades the now silent fields. I have striven to capture the thought-provoking nature of the battlefield as I view it today, with evocative images that create an emotional and sentimental connection between the present-day visitor and the historic events and dramatic conflict of the past.
Guests view the exhibit.
It is my ultimate goal to evoke the many human emotions that are felt out on the battlefield and to transcend those emotions with powerful, imaginative and creative visions that are open to religious interpretation. It is my hope that the viewer is instilled with the same sense of awe and inspiration that draws me back, time and time again to the hallowed places where, “…spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls.”
The exhibit’s battlefield views were arranged in chronological battle order, designed to give the viewer a sequential running account of the three days battle and its aftermath. The accompanying abbreviated texts included my artists’ statement, poetry, first person accounts, and historical notes. The statements were designed to place each piece into its proper geographical context and historical perspective.
My drawing style utilizes novel color pencil techniques. Multiple layers of primary, secondary, and complementary colors are repeatedly overlapped with a crosshatching technique, creating infinite hues and rich dark values without the use of black and brown. Dozens of layers of color combine to give each drawing a sense of vibrancy and depth, and an impressionistic quality that I feel expresses perfectly my artistic interpretation of the battlefield.
Exhibition poster is now available for sale.
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