John Mellencamp: Paintings and Assemblages opens Friday Jan. 14, at the Museum of Art DeLand, 100 N. Woodland Blvd. Shown is “Nate and Nora,” 2020, house paint, oil, charcoal and colored pencil on canvas, 36 by 48 inches.

The Museum of Art-DeLand will feature a solo exhibit of works by John Mellencamp, opening Jan. 14.

Best known for his music, Mr. Mellencamp is an accomplished painter who has seriously pursued his art for more than 35 years. Solo exhibits include the Butler Institute of American Art, the Tennessee State Museum, the Museum of Art-DeLand, the Morris Museum of Art and three exhibits, including a two-man show with Robert Rauschenberg, at ACA Galleries in New York.

“Seven years ago the Museum of Art-DeLand presented one of John Mellencamp’s first museum shows, and it remains one of the most well-attended in our 70-plus year history,” said Executive Director Pattie Pardee in a news release. “Fan curiosity may have driven numbers initially, but his undeniable artistic proficiency created new audiences for his paintings.

Mr. Mellencamp is such a prolific artist that he has more than enough work for the museum to welcome him back after seven years; in fact, this exhibit features mostly new works, with only a handful among the 50 or so pieces that were painted before 2020, according to Ms. Pardee.

“It’s an intriguing look at an artist’s creative output during the pandemic,” she said.

As his musical career flourished, he continued painting and evolved a style of portraiture influenced by the German Expressionists, particularly Max Beckmann and Otto Dix. Mr. Mellencamp’s imagery takes its inspiration from the same sources as his music; the struggles of the working man and woman, oppressive authority and social struggle. Like his music, the paintings are carefully composed through the structural requirements of harmony, rhythm, and order.

Born and raised in Seymour, Ind., Mr. Mellencamp is an acclaimed singer-songwriter and musician as well as a long-time activist. He started painting at an early age, influenced by this mother, also an artist. He studied at the Student Art League of New York, where he discovered the work of 20th Century Modernists.

As his musical career flourished, Mr. Mellencamp began to paint earnestly in the 1980s with an affinity for portraiture influenced by the works of Otto Dix and Max Beckmann.

John Mellencamp: Paintings and Assemblages will be on view to March 27 at 100 N. Woodland Blvd.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 and free to children under the age of 12 and all Volusia County Schools and Stetson University students.

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