Friday, July 9, 2010

Celebrated artist returns to Ketchum

David Wharton exhibition set for Gail Severn Gallery

Express Staff Writer

“Matchbox” is one of the many prints and watercolors David Wharton will have for sale at the Gail Severn Gallery in Ketchum. Photo by

"It's been awhile since I've been in the valley," artist David Wharton said. "I was the last person to walk off the campus of the Sun Valley Center on Sun Valley Road at Trail Creek."

Wharton is a noted artist and printmaker and his roots in Sun Valley are deep, as he was founding director of the fine arts department of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in 1978.

Wharton brought established artists to The Center who used its printmaking facilities and enjoyed Wharton's artistic experience and professionalism. Wharton printed and published fine-art prints for well-known artists such as William Wiley, Terry Allen, Don Nice, Jenny Lind, James Romberg, Roy DeForest, William Wegman, Dale Chihuly, Sheila Gardner, Harvey Littleton and William Allen.

"It was fun and some of the prints I will show," he said. "I was offered a position as director and master printer for the Littleton Glass Studio and for two years published and printed over 90 artists."

Wharton eventually pursued his own painting, going to New York City and eventually landing in Westport, Conn., as a freelance designer, artist and nonprofit consultant for 10 years.

"It was like being in a rodeo," he said. "If you can stay on until the buzzer, you win. If you get thrown off several times, you pick yourself up and keep going."

Wharton came back to Idaho once he tired of New York and began working in the digital printing world.

"I can teach photography, printmaking and book art without going into the darkroom," he said. "It was fun and I still like it. I will show what I made at Whitman College as a visiting art professor of Polaroid transfers, letter press and digital media."

Today, Wharton's home is Lewiston, Mont., where he is pursuing his painting.

"I like to fly-fish," he said. "I have 40 brand new paintings that have never been shown."

Gail Severn and Glenn Janss will celebrate Wharton's visit to the valley this Saturday, July 10, from 4-7 p.m. with a reception and exhibition at the Gail Severn Gallery. In addition, work will be on exhibition Sunday, July 11, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Original watercolors and prints will be available and the show will include prints from artists during Wharton's memorable time at The Center.

"I don't mind people handling the work, picking it up and placing two works together," Wharton said. "There are no frames but affordable prices. This is a real collectors show and I try to put work together that I think a lot of dear friends, especially Gail and Glenn, want to see."

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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