ERIE, Pa. - The artist was humble and a little shy as she shook hands and collected compliments from strangers on her first major museum exhibition. But while she may be a woman of few words in public, Anna J. Weaver's work speaks for itself.
The Amish mother of six from Sherman has 32 paintings on display at Erie Art Museum in an exhibit that opened March 7 and runs through June 14.
Weaver's naturalistic portraits of Amish life have been gaining broader recognition in recent years, ever since she completed a mural on an inside wall of Sherman's Mozzarella Madness restaurant in 2009. She moved from painting on rocks and saw blades to canvas with the help of Sherman art dealer Bob Rogers, owner of Something Unique gallery, who has championed her work.
OBSERVER Photos by Cynthia Littleton
Two of the 32 paintings by Anna J. Weaver on exhibit at the Erie Art Museum through June 14. Top:?“Mom’s Milking”
Weaver's paintings were exhibited in 2012 at the James Prendergast Library gallery in Jamestown, and another Prendergast showcase is being planned.
Weaver's style is distinguished by her keen eye for detail, the rich colors of the Chautauqua County landscape and her deft touch at capturing motion in her subjects. Her work, mostly acrylic on canvas (and still the occasional saw blade), ranges from sweeping scenes of barn raisings, schoolchildren at play and Amish auctions to intimate snapshots of daily life, from a mother milking cows to men and boys plowing fields. She is prolific, painting using a self-taught technique in which she paints from the bottom up, without the use of outlines or foundational sketches.
"The Amish Art of Anna J. Weaver" marks the first time Erie Art Museum has featured a local Amish artist. The March 7 opening reception was complete with fry pies supplied by Weaver's close friend, Linda Burkholder (whose baked goods are known to anyone who shops the Sherman farmer's market in the summertime).
The fry pies didn't last long, but the crowds did. Weaver smiled broadly and admitted to being a little nervous about being the center of attention at the show, held in the museum's Ronald E. Holstein Gallery.
When a patron praised her depiction of a woman milking cows in the painting "Mom's Milking," Weaver volunteered that her children didn't think much of that picture.
"They told me nobody's going to buy a picture of cows' butts," she said. Less than an hour after the exhibit opened, her kids were proven wrong.
The Amish Art of Anna J. Weaver runs through June 14 at Erie Art Museum. For more information: see the website at ErieArtMuseum.org.
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