BAXTER SPRINGS - Local art enthusiasts will want to plan a trip to the Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum in the near future. The museum will be hosting the work of artist Virgil Lampton, of Claremore, Oklahoma. His collection, 'Atmospheric State' will be on display until Sept. 4.

Atmospheric State

The vibrant colors and texture of artist Virgil Lampton's paintings sweep across the canvas with dramatic movement, conjuring images of high winds on the plains and approaching storms. Bold hues and varied brushstrokes dance across the surface, much like an Oklahoma sunset. The works of Atmospheric State, are inspired by the dramatic weather events in Oklahoma.

His paintings combine the American landscape tradition with abstract expressionism. While his technique shows the influence of abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning, Lampton's theme and composition recall the stormy seascapes and romanticism of landscape painter, J.M.W. Turner.

Of Lampton's paintings, writer Ernest Goldstein once wrote, "In his work, reflected light plays trick within the landscape. The viewer sees the substance of the landscape, which is at once tangible, and a stormy ocean where hills undulate like waves and vibrate with the colors of the sea. The repetition of large forms erupting in rhythmical motions gives the felling of nature performing its dance of life and death."

Lampton is Professor Emeritus at the University of Tulsa where he taught from 1971 to 2006. He earned his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from Pittsburg State University and also studied at the University of Denver and the Kansas City Art Institute.

Lampton is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for his work in the arts and education. In 2002, he was presented the Arts in Education Award during the Oklahoma Governor's Arts Awards. In 2006, Lampton was one of four honored at the National Scholastic benefit in New York City. Fellow honorees that year included Kitty Carlisle Hart, Kathy Bates and Glenn Close.

His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is included in numerous private and corporate collections."

-- Jordan Zabel is the managing editor for the Cherokee County News-Advocate. He can be emailed at jzabel@sekvoice.com.