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Essay by Mulvane Museum Director, Connie Gibbons 


“When I think of art, I think of beauty. Beauty is the mystery of life. It is not in the eye, it is in my mind. In our minds there is awareness of perfection.”


 Agnes Martin, Beauty is the Mystery of Life


The Mulvane Art Museum recently received a significant donation of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and archival material representing the life work of Rita Blitt. Sorting through and cataloging the hundreds of artworks and archival material is a monumental task and will create unique opportunities to engage students and communities in the research, interpretation, and development of exhibitions and educational programs for many years to come. Rita has actively explored art since she was a child—from the personal cards and messages for her family or to commemorate special events to the spontaneous marks that dance across miles of paper to the monumental sculptures that define neighborhoods and communities around the world. It is the vision of the Mulvane Art Museum for students, faculty, and guest curators to create exhibitions, performances, compositions, and interpretive programs that utilize the Rita Blitt collection and archives in ways that allow us to explore music, dance, art, and life through her work.


Rita Blitt in Motion: Dance of the Line showcases seventeen works out of this vast collection and gives us a glimpse at the artworks in Mulvane’s collection. Inspired by music and dance and compelled by an inner voice that drives her to create, line is the formal element that binds her work across time and media. For Rita Blitt, the act of creating is as spontaneous and compulsive as breathing. Movement. Dance. Music. Joy. A love for life. These are the elements that animate her artwork—line is a footprint that she traces across canvas and paper. The drawings and sculptures hint at the exquisite beauty of line that embodies moments of the ephemeral coexisting with the impenetrable. She captures a whisper, a note, a brief sigh and confines it to the surface of the canvas or paper before flying to the next page. Her sculpture transmutes line into three dimensional form to encompass and occupy space, inviting the viewer to become a participant with lines in motion. Like Agnes Martin, Rita Blitt’s artistic practice derives from inspiration and the desire to capture the abstract glories of joy, beauty, life, and happiness itself.


Within the next year, the Rita Blitt Gallery will open to the public and will allow us to dedicate an ongoing series of exhibitions and programs that celebrate her remarkable artistic output.


Connie Gibbons, Director at Mulvane Art Museum



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