The Illustrious Horse: Kentucky Artists Respond to the Clara Peck Collection

September 15 – October 15, 2010
Lexington Gallery Hop: Sept. 17, 5-8 p.m.

In celebration of the World Equestrian Games, the Morlan Gallery proudly presents The Illustrious Horse, a small group invitational critically renowned contemporary artists from Kentucky. Twelve visual artists and one poet were asked to creatively respond to a horse image found in Transylvania University’s esteemed Clara Peck Collection. The Peck Collection, located in the Rare Book Room of Transylvania University’s Library, houses collectable books dealing with the history of the horse and natural history.

Exhibition participants are sculptor Steve Armstrong (Lexington); painter Gaela Erwin (Louisville); conceptual artist Kurt Gohde (Lexington); drawing and mixed media artist Michael Goodlett (Wilmore); video artist Valerie Fuchs (Louisville); photographer Guy Mendes (Lexington); painter Lennon Michalski (Lexington); fiber artist Arturo Sandoval (Lexington); conceptual artist Zoé Strecker (Harrodsburg); drawing and mixed media artist Lawrence Tarpey (Lexington); sculptor Travis Townsend (Richmond); sculptor Lavon Van Williams (Lexington); and poet Richard Taylor (Frankfort).

These artists innovatively respond to the uncommon and diverse visual imagery of the Peck Collection. For example, Steve Armstrong replies to George Stubbs’ 1766 Anatomy of a Horse, a virtuosic collection of drawings; Lennon Michaslski answers to Hortusan Itatis (Garden of Health) a rare illuminated manuscript from 1400; and video artist Valerie Fuchs finds inspiration from Rosa Bonheur’s original artist’s sketchbook, complete with the initial studies for her masterwork The Horse Fair. Known as one of the greatest animal painters of the 19th century, Bonheur’s Horse Fair currently hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kentucky Poet Laureate (1999-2001) Richard Taylor responds in writing to Edward Troye’s painting of the thoroughbred Lexington, the most successful sire during the second half of the nineteenth century. Born in 1808, Troye is an eminent artist who painted America’s most distinguished horses for forty years.

JOIN US for our special Illustrious Horse Speaker Series! All events are in the gallery (unless noted), free, and open to the public.

Children’s author Patsi Trollinger will read Perfect Timing: How Isaac Murphy Became One of the World’s Greatest Jockeys, Saturday, Oct. 2, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Books available for purchase, cash or check only please.

Middle School author Heather Henson will read Dream of Night, where three lives and three story lines merge as readers get to know a former racehorse, a 12-year-old girl, and a middle-aged woman. Saturday, Oct. 9, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Books available for purchase, cash or check only please.

Author Genevieve Baird Lacer, will lecture on the famous painter Edward Troye on Monday, October 18, 6-7:30 p.m. in the Transylvania University Library. Lacer is the author of Edward Troye, Painter of Thoroughbred Stories. This lecture is followed by a reception at the Morlan Gallery, where Troye’s Lexington hangs as part of the Illustrious Horse exhibition. Although free and open to the public, RSVPs are strongly suggested, please call Bobbi Silver at (859) 233-8738 or email