Lockhart houses artist's versatile, ambitious works

A stunning display of talent, "Many Visions," is an array of works born from artist Richard Beale's craving for personal growth. From watercolors to etchings to needlepoint, Beale incorporates several artistic mediums in a variety of styles. Beale's myriad works are not only a reaction to the abstract expressionism of his training, but a representation of a 50-year period of change.

With no set style among the different pieces, the art presents both naturalistic and abstract subjects. "Jones Bridge Road" (1992) features a Salvador Dali-esque scene of a small town overshadowed by a giant teacup entwined in construction scaffolding with a giant spoon lying next to it. Next to this modernistic painting is a piece Beale created in 1972, a stark and striking pencil portrait of a student.

The "Mama Gaia" series, begun in 1983 and completed in 1990, features the use of Egg Tempera to create a series of visually appealing pieces featuring dragons and pagodas. A few feet away are several pieces of mounted poetry including one titled "Cobblestones of Florence," in which striking calligraphy describes an early morning in Florence.

Stemming from his belief that "art has to mean something, and it has to have its own visual language or style," Beale did not develop a consistent method. Moving from painting, etching, needlepoint and collage, he noted that he is "a different artist everyday."

Moreover, he differentiated between style and content, as is seen when he moves from the pastel piece "Mandala," inspired by the Buddhist sand paintings, to a more naturalistic etching of a serene forest in "Kring Point." Beale stated that differentiating between those two ideals "was a way beyond art, into the world of inner vision for which neither style nor meaning is enough."

A chance to appreciate the many artistic offerings of Geneseo and see a collection of works by a very talented artist, "Many Visions" is more than worth the short trip up to Main Street. The exhibit, featuring an array of 30 of his pieces including ones from his personal collection, is on show at the Lockhart Gallery until Oct. 13. Collections of Beale's poetry are also available for purchase at the gallery.