artwork by Emma Farber Cunningham

Saturday, October 13, through Saturday, December 1

MidCoast at Bucktown Gallery, 225 East Second Street, Davenport IA

Two disparate forms of artistic media will, from October 13 through December 1, combine in one fascinating exhibit at Davenport's Bucktown Center for the Arts, when area artists Emma Farber Cunningham and Barbara Toner showcase their immense talents – and their specific mediums of interest – in the new MidCoast at Bucktown Gallery exhibition Paintings & Glass.

Cunningham’s main body of work is composed of imagined landscapes that mix representational and abstract elements, and her goal is to create art that, as she says, “strikes a poetic balance between extremes and that calls upon the viewer's imagination to effectively ‘complete’ each scene.” The artist utilizes a vibrant palette while playing with a myriad of painting strategies – what Cunningham calls “hard edges against soft ones, large brushy passages adjacent to smaller, more detailed ones, and smoothly blended wet-on-wet areas vs. choppy, layered sections.”

A graduate of Black Hawk College and St. Ambrose University, Cunningham received her MFA from Illinois State University and returned to the Quad Cities as an adjunct art instructor for both Black Hawk College and Scott Community College. Her Paintings & Glass works, meanwhile, were inspired by the cosmos – nebulas, galaxies, and colorful interstellar bodies. “Because I use my imagination to generate content,” says Cunningham, “it seemed appropriate that I finally ‘look to the stars’ for inspiration.”

Born in Philadelphia, artist Toner has lived in Bettendorf for more than 30 years. She discovered the lure of fused-glass creation shortly after her retirement, first dabbling in jewelry, then mastering mosaics and plates, and finally applying her talents to coral and floriform bowls, clocks, and plates. As she notes, “I like to call my body of works for this exhibition Fragile: Flowers and Nature in Glass.” And as glass is both a natural substance (in the form of silica) and fragile in finished form like the environment, Toner sees the medium as an appropriate and exciting metaphor for thinking about the protection of our world.

“I've been excited at times with how glass can mimic the forms and fluid lines of trees, flowers, and animals as it changes during the firing process,” says the artist. “Straight lines become curvy, hard edges become rounded.”

Cunningham's and Toner's Paintings & Glass will be on view at the MidCoast Bucktown Gallery October 13 through December 1, with Bucktown Center for the Arts open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. (On the final Friday of every month, the venue is open until 9 p.m.). Admission to the galleries is free, and more information on the exhibits is available by calling (563)424-1210 or visiting MidCoast.org.

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