STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Delaware County artist George H. Rothacker has dedicated a quarter-century to historic Pennsylvania movie theaters; the street life of Havana, Cuba; and beloved films and their scores.
And that’s just a sample of the artist’s interests represented in 54 acrylic paintings in the new Villanova University Art Gallery exhibit “The Diverse Artistic Universe of George H. Rothacker,” which is on view through July 28.
A mechanical designer and draftsman turned advertising agency founder, Rothacker describes his painting and the business of creating logos, websites and ad campaigns as symbiotic. “Art is art. Design is design. Storytelling is part of everything I do,” he said in a press release. “I’ve had the fortune of having my own business in Media for 38 years, and my art studio is just off the side door of our house, so I get to do my work all the time. I recognize that it’s a blessing to live this way, but you work for your blessings just like you work through the rough patches. It all has value.”
Rothacker’s two newest series, “Social Conflicts in America” and “20th Century American Writers,” are being shown for the first time.
Villanova has an art gallery, huh? Where?
On the second floor of the Connelly Center, 800 Lancaster Ave.
How controversial does “Social Conflicts in America” get?
He explores the different sides of the arguments over gay rights, women’s rights, religious freedom, prohibition, discrimination and censorship. The artist commented to Villanova University Art Gallery: “I made the decision not to take a political stance one way or another on each of the issues, which in some cases was very difficult to do. I just wanted to put the conflicts out there and let the images tell the story.”
Who are the writers Rothacker painted?
The series began with a commission to do a portrait of William Burroughs, whom the artist calls “a horrible man.” It was a favor for a friend of Rothacker’s daughter that volunteered to clean up Rothacker’s studio. Among the 12 writers, whom the artist presumably holds in higher esteem — John Steinbeck, Eudora Welty, Kurt Vonnegut and Ernest Hemingway. Rothacker states on his website that he became drawn to Hemingway after observing the writer’s influence all over Havana in 2009.
What an interesting man. Is he doing an artist reception?
A free public reception with the artist will take place 5 to 7 p.m. June 10. Refreshments will be served.
What are the gallery hours?
During the summer, hours are generally 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Hours are subject to change, so you should check www.artgallery.villanova.edu or call (610) 519-4612.