Exhibition, celebration to honor late MSU Texas art professor

Exhibition, celebration to honor late MSU Texas art professor

Exhibition, celebration to honor late MSU Texas art professor

In his 39 years at Midwestern State University's Department of Art, Richard Martin Ash III served as teacher, administrator, and mentor to the hundreds of students who took his classes. During that time, Ash continued making prints, churning out artwork that spans his time at MSU.

A retrospective of Ash's art, "Looking Back - 39 Years of Printmaking, Selected Works of Richard Martin Ash III," will open with a reception at 6 p.m. Friday, April 19, at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Texas. Ash was Professor of Art at MSU Texas from 1968 until 2007, and interim director of the WFMA from 2009-2011. He died in February of this year.

Ash's wife, Professor of Art Emeritus Liz Yarosz-Ash chose this time for the exhibition because Ash would have been 76 years old on April 27. "He has such a reputation in the art community, and we wanted to celebrate his life with this exhibition, and by bringing friends, former students, and those he worked with in the art world to honor him."

Ash's prints have been displayed in more than 450 regional and national exhibitions and in diverse public collections such as the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas; and General Motors in Detroit, Michigan. He was named Hardin Professor at MSU Texas in 1979.

Several of those friends and former students will speak at a Celebration of Life for Ash, which will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, April 19, at the WFMA, preceding the opening reception. Guest speakers include MSU President Emeritus Jesse Rogers, Curator of the Museum of Texas Tech University Peter S. Briggs, and former students and artists Joe Ed Barrington, Robert Horvath, Kevin Marshall, and Timothy McDowell.

Barrington is a well-known metal sculptor and was the Distinguished Alumnus for the Fain College of Fine Arts in 2014. Horvath is now Associate Professor of Painting at the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He was the Fain College of Fine Arts' Distinguished Alumnus in 2018. Marshall is now Director of Preparations at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and was Fain's Distinguished Alumnus in 2010. McDowell is Professor of Art at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut.

The WFMA held a retrospective of Ash's prints in 2007. At the time, WFMA Curator Danny Bills, a student of Ash's and now interim director, said that as well as he knew Ash as an artist, he was unprepared for the volume of works Ash had accomplished. "It was really amazing as a student to learn something new along with Richard," Bills said of the student-teacher collaboration.

McDowell said, "The viability of his art has been an inspiration as well, and his talent as an artist may only be rivaled by his ability as a teacher à not a bad legacy to have."

In lieu of flowers, memorials for myelofibrosis research in Ash's name may be made to the MD Anderson Cancer Center online or sent to PO Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486.

The exhibit will be on display through May 11. For more information, contact the WFMA at ext. 8900.