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Three Generations of Asturian-American Painters Exhibit

 
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Art
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Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4427
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:01 pm    Post subject: Three Generations of Asturian-American Painters Exhibit Reply with quote

At Glenville State College in Glenville, West Virginia
Three Generations of Asturian-American Painters




Emilio Fernández Alvarez (1894 - 1964)
Honnie Amor Wagner (1927 - )
Art Zoller Wagner (1952 - )

Realist painting is a family tradition that goes back at least a century and a half and four or five generations. According to one family story, Emilio helped his uncle or grandfather paint the star-studded ceiling of a church in Avilés, Asturias, Spain, when he was only nine years old.

Asturias is an area of “green Spain” on the northern coast. This mountainous region is the home of one of Spain’s traditional Celtic cultures. For millennia, the dominant trades in Asturias have been associated with the sea, cattle, and minerals.

Emilio and his wife emigrated from Spain in 1914, spent three years in La Habana, Cuba, and then arrived in West Virginia in 1917 with two children. Asturian emigration was a common phenomenon in this era. Some left for adventure or to find work because unemployment was high in Asturias. Many emigrated due to punishing labor relations with zinc factory owners in Asturias. Some, like Emilio, left Spain in order to avoid the military draft for a brutal war in Morocco.


Emilio Fernández Alvarez, Vecindad

In the early 20th century, Harrison County, West Virginia had a sizable Asturian immigrant community living in Anmoore, Spelter, and North View. Many of these Asturians had been recruited to work in the zinc smelting industry because they had held similar jobs in Asturias. There were zinc factories in many locations in the United States, including four in West Virginia: first in Anmoore and later in Spelter, Northview, and Moundsville.

Emilio did not work in the zinc industry. He was a painter who earned his living painting businesses and homes, but whose passion was painting religious themes, landscapes, portraits, and still lifes. He straddled two worlds, painting folkloric images that expressed a longing for the life and culture left behind, yet also painting scenes from his new life in West Virginia. Emilio rarely sold his paintings, but preferred to give them to his friends and family. He often displayed seasonal paintings in his home’s front window so that neighbors could enjoy them as they walked past.


Emilio Fernández Alvarez, Backyard

Honnie, Emilio’s daughter, is a retired school teacher who enjoys painting picturesque Spanish scenes. She learned clay and molded sculpture from her father as a child and majored in art at West Virginia University, but suspended her artistic activity when she became a mother. In 1977 she visited her family in Asturias for the first time, meeting cousins, aunts, and uncles she had never known. She was charmed and fascinated by the traditional urban and rural lifestyles of her family in Asturias. Her paintings reflect images captured on film during visits to her ancestral home.


Honnie Amor Wagner, Mercado

Art, Emilio’s grandson, is a clinical social worker. As a child, Art played with his mother and grandfather’s art supplies, explored their books, and absorbed their art, which was displayed in the home. As a young studio artist, Art lived in Spain for two years, visiting his mother’s Asturian family on holidays. He later studied Asturian culture for three summers in the Asturian capital, Oviedo, in order to learn more about the culture his maternal grandparents left behind. These childhood and adult experiences led to his focus on the psychological, relational, and spiritual aspects of añoranza, or longing, through images of the human figure and landscape.


Art Zoller Wagner, Luminous II

This exhibit shows the works of three generations within one immigrant family of realist painters, beginning with an enterprising Spanish immigrant to West Virginia in the early 1900s, continuing with the retrospective reflections expressed by his daughter, and extending to his grandson, whose introspective works explore longing and connection. We offer this visual journey as a metaphor for the multigenerational immigrant experience in West Virginia.

For more information, please visit: www.ArteAsturias.com


Last edited by Art on Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:20 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Art
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Joined: 17 Feb 2003
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Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Asturian-American Painters Showcased in GSC Gallery
By Dustin | Published January 20, 2015

For more information:
Glenville State College
Public Relations and Marketing
(304) 462-4115

GLENVILLE, WV—Glenville State College is currently showcasing the paintings of artist Art Zoller Wagner, but with a twist. His exhibit also includes pieces by his mother Honnie Wagner and his grandfather Emilio Fernandez for a dynamic show that encompasses around 100 years of culture and history in West Virginia’s Asturian communities that got their start in the early 1900s. The show is on display in the GSC Fine Arts Center Spears Gallery.

The exhibit titled ‘Three Generations of Asturian-American Painters’ shows the works of three generations within one immigrant family of realist painters. Beginning with an enterprising Spanish immigrant to West Virginia around 1917, continuing with the retrospective reflections expressed by his daughter, and extending to his grandson, whose introspective works explore longing and connection. “We offer this visual journey as a metaphor for the multigenerational immigrant experience in West Virginia,” said Art Wagner.

Asturias, a region along the northern coast of Spain, saw many of its residents come to the United States due to high unemployment and punishing labor conditions during the early 1900s. A significant number of Asturian’s ended up in Harrison County, West Virginia where they made their homes and worked in zinc smelting factories.

“This exhibit is of great historical and cultural significance for Glenville State College. We are honored and excited to showcase this work for the campus and community,” said GSC Associate Professor of Art Liza Brenner.

The show is open to the public and will run until Friday, March 6th. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and one hour before all GSC Fine Arts events. An opening reception is scheduled to take place on Monday, January 26th from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center gallery.
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Art
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Joined: 17 Feb 2003
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Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mom and I will be giving a gallery presentation on the paintings, Asturian culture, and the immigrant experience on March 2, 2015 at 10 am at the Glenville State College Gallery. You are invited!
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Manuell Alvarez



Joined: 14 Jun 2011
Posts: 192

PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Art,

I am so proud---What a nice exhibit. Thanks for displaying your work. You bring a great honor to our heritage.

Someday, I hope to see your exhibit in the National Gallery of Art.

Manny
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Art
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Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4427
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Manny. That used to be my goal. These days I'm focused on helping kids feel whole. The new goal seems a lot more achieveable!
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Manuell Alvarez



Joined: 14 Jun 2011
Posts: 192

PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Art,

That is an excellent goal. I appreciate and applaud your work in helping our young people.

I failed to mention in my earlier post, that your exhibit is an outstanding legacy of an Asturian American family. It is certainly an excellent exhibit centerpiece for the Museum of the American people.

I hope to see your work exhibited in the NGA soon.

Manny
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SamSil



Joined: 11 Jul 2018
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I say more power to you, Art! I've seen some of the footage of this exhibit and I was blown away. I can't imagine how amazing it was being there, taking all that in on the spot.
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