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College to Present Summer Exhibit of Philip Hale's Artwork

Pieces Offer Retrospective of Late Wilmington Residents' Work

July 15, 2014

Harcum Gallery curator Hal Shunk hangs one of Philip Hale's paintings in preparing for the Wilmington College exhibit that runs through Aug. 2.

Harcum Gallery curator Hal Shunk hangs one of Philip Hale's paintings in preparing for the Wilmington College exhibit that runs through Aug. 2.

Philip B. Hale spent much of his latter years painting urban landscapes near his winter home and studio in Costa Rica.

Those images are prominent in an exhibit of his works presented at Wilmington College’s Harcum Art Gallery through Aug. 2

Normal gallery hours are weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by special appointment arranged by curator Hal Shunk, professor of art.

Hale was the eldest child of the late Dr. Nathan and Margery Hale. He was 60 years old when he died February 14 in Costa Rica. Sharing time between homes in Wilmington and Colima de Tibas, Costa Rica, Hale annually worked six months in the United States as a freelance certification inspector for the organic food industry and, during the colder months, pursued his art in Costa Rica.

“I have always been attracted towards the exotic, but, at the same time, seek my identity in the mundane, which I think maybe a cultural trait of the Midwest,” he said.

Hale spoke about distinguishing between the concepts of plastic or pictorial space, “as found in the best paintings,” and naturalistic space, “as found in nature.”

“Hans Hoffmann taught that plastic creation provides a three-dimensional effect but must exist two dimensionally; where the picture plane is completely maintained,” he said. “When this has been accomplished, a painting has tension, real force and a breathing life — akin to harmonics in music.

“To me, creating this pictorial space is the real game in painting.”

Hale earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and art history from Kansas City Art Institute in 1975. He studied painting under Stanley Lewis and Gabriel Laderman and was a founding member of the Midwest Paint Group.

His other interests included agriculture, biology and food technology. He was a founding board member of the International Organic Inspectors Association and the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Assn.