MCLA

Three Generations of Rockwell Creators

06/16/2010

For the first time ever, the artwork of three generations of Rockwells will be displayed in the Berkshires, as the work of Jarvis and Daisy Rockwell is exhibited in North Adams as part of DownStreet Art, a public art project of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center.

Their work will join the art of their father and grandfather, 20th-century American painter and Illustrator Norman Rockwell, which can be viewed at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.

From June 24 to July 25, Daisy Rockwell's "Rasgulla," a display of Rasa paintings, will be in the Galerie Inqilab at 5 Holden St.

Also beginning on June 24, Jarvis Rockwell will present a pyramid of toys, scenes in vitrines, wall drawings and assemblage, in an exhibition entitled "Maya III," at 73 Main St.

"The juxtaposition of Jarvis, Daisy, and Norman Rockwell's art in Berkshire County this summer is an historic event offering an exciting look at the work of three generations of Rockwell creators. Each is uniquely gifted, having found amazing personal pathways for artistic expression," said Stephanie Plunkett, deputy director and chief curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum.

Jarvis Rockwell, of North Adams, Mass., agreed that the occasion will make for a momentous summer. Art is in his family's blood, he said. "My father's father was an artist. He did some drawing. My mother's mother also did some drawing, and then my cousins did. ... It's very nice to have my daughter have a show right down the street. I think it's wonderful."

"The Rockwell Family is enormously talented," said Rockwell Museum director, Laurie Norton Moffatt. "It is especially gratifying to see Daisy Rockwell's blossoming artistic talents."

Norman Rockwell died when Daisy was 9. Like her grandfather, she paints portraits. Although he did not paint with her, she recalls visiting him in his studio.

"He wasn't the kind of guy who would sit on the floor with a child," she laughed. "His studio was a sacrosanct space and if you went in, it was as a visitor. You wouldn't go in with your crayons."

People have commented to Daisy - who lives in Lebanon, N.H. - that they can see the reflection of her grandfather in her work.

 "My work is more about geo-political things and big public questions," she said. "And, my work is mostly portraiture. My work is much more like my grandfather's than my parents in the sense that it's very realistic."

RockwellHowever, her style is very different than her grandfather's. Her father explained, "Daisy does portraits of Indian leaders and the leaders of Pakistan, which are very good. I think they look like them, but they are a little exaggerated."

 "I grew up doing nothing but art," Daisy Rockwell said. "Even when I went away to college in Chicago, I continued to do some art. Although I wasn't studying art, I continued to paint and draw. Then when I went to graduate school (to earn a Ph.D. in South Asian Studies), I just kind of stopped."

But, in 2006, she began to paint again. This summer marks the first time that she will display her work in close proximity to that of her father and grandfather.

"It is something that I would not have been into before, just because when you grow up with all these people above you doing art and a famous grandfather, you get tired of being compared to them," she said. "I think that had a lot to do with me not wanting to do art for a while. I wanted to develop my own identity. I've been painting for a few years now and I've had my own shows on the West Coast. I guess it doesn't bother me to be compared as much now because I have forged my own path."

For more information about DownStreet Art and a complete listing of galleries and performances, go to www.downstreetart.org . To learn more about the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center at MCLA, go to www.mcla.edu/bcrc .  For more information about Daisy Rockwell, go to www.myspace.com/asaroazaca or www.daisyrockwell.com .