August Main Gallery Exhibit
A Family Affair
By Larry Feeney with daughter Katherine Munson & granddaughter Molly Munson
Larry Feeney began life on the upper Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa, influenced by the newspaper world of his father and his large assortment of Irish-Catholic cousins. The local city art gallery and its director, Elizabeth Mueller, drew him into another world where, from second grade onwards, he eagerly absorbed what he learned from classes and exhibits.
At his undergraduate college, St. Ambrose, Larry studied under and assisted the world-renowned calligrapher, Fr. Edward Catich. He received a scholarship to study in Mexico City and then returned to continue his studies in drawing and painting at the University of Iowa, where he received his Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degree.
His association with a professor from Mississippi led to the offer of a position at MUW, where he began teaching art education in 1968. A year later he took the Painting and Drawing position, which he held for 31 years. Other courses he taught at MUW included Italic calligraphy, art appreciation, art education, beginning drawing, figure drawing, and oil and acrylic painting. Larry came full circle as the director of the art gallery, where he enjoyed helping to select and develop workshops for the last fifteen years of his tenure at the W before being named Professor Emeritus. In 2014 he created the Larry Feeney Endowment for the Eugenia Summer Gallery, which was created to support exhibits and expand opportunities for student study as well as community programs.
Larry’s influence has been felt beyond the walls of the college in his involvement with the community. During the 1980s and early 90s, he partnered with Trudy Gildea and the Columbus Arts Council and directed a children’s summer arts camp. After retirement Larry was on the board of the Arts Council, where he served as director of the gallery. Throughout all his years of teaching and retirement, he has taught numerous art classes and been available to judge area art shows. Many younger community members recognize Larry from his frequent role as Santa Claus in the mall, public library, or the annual Christmas parade.
These days you can find him at one of his many haunts: Peking Chinese Restaurant, Books A Million, or his favorite, the W cafeteria, socializing with his close-knit circle of friends. He also loves spending time with his two daughters who both live in Columbus, Elizabeth Richardson and Katherine Munson and their children, Asa, Leah and Hattie Richardson and Molly, Luke and Hannah Munson.
What does it feel like to be loved unconditionally? What does it feel like to both forgive and be forgiven? How does the source of all creation, whatever your name or definition of it, acknowledge its creation?
These are questions I somewhat obsess over, and have for many years. During my twenties I decided there had to be some kind of personal relationship with this Creator. This therefore begged the question- what is the mode of communication? It dawned on me it must be up to the individual to define and translate it, and so I decided to create my own language with the Divine. What did I enjoy? What did I find beautiful and lovely? I realized I loved the cyclical essence of time and nature and the delicate intricacies of bugs, and so I began looking more closely at those things. I admired the cicada for meta- morphic growth, and romanticized their ability to leave their old, protective shells. I transpired those physical changes as reminders of spiritual ones- that change, growth and adaptation is always possible. Dragonflies have always seemed to have a mystical all-knowing nature to them, and once I started noticing them in groups of threes, I began using them in my artwork as well. Those bugs evolved into visual worldly signs of being unconditionally loved and a reminder of all that is Good, Pure and Beautiful. Now, whenever I hear the awesome chorus of cicadas, find an empty larval case on the sidewalk, or see dragonflies in a pack of three, I have chosen to use these as signs of being heard, seen and therefore loved from something bigger.
My art balances the unplanned kinetic energy of pastel abstract oil painting with delicately defined and gold leafed graphic images. I enjoy bringing together intuitive paintings with lovingly cut and planned out elements. The process of making my art helps me to understand my relationship with the things I can control and the things I can not. As a mother of three small children, I’m learning to allow myself to feel joy daily in both the carefully planned events, as well as the absolute chaos that can erupt at any moment. In a roundabout and somewhat omnipotent way, I’m learning through my art to now love unconditionally the little world I’ve created .
I graduated from MUW in 2009 with a BFA in Photography. I live downtown Columbus with my husband, Ryan, and three children, Molly, Luke and Hannah. We own a small juice bar and an artisan business.
Molly Munson is Katherine’s daughter. She loves to paint abstract oil paintings with bright and bold colors.
Molly has completed first grade. She loves to paint, bake and go swimming!