Legacies Live on in Exhibition Series

by   |   kallweil@bju.edu   |  
Legacy Series Darell Koons

Throughout the school year, various artists’ works are displayed in the exhibition corridor of the Sargent Art Building. For the past 25-plus years, one of those exhibits has been the Legacy Series (though the name was introduced only last year).

Jay Bopp, chair of the Division of Art + Design, said, “Our ultimate goal for the Legacy Series is to introduce current students to those A+D faculty who went before us—our retirees and those who taught the current faculty. We want students to see quality artwork by their artistic ‘grandparents’ and be able to appreciate the rich legacy that they have in the Division of Art + Design.”

Though typically hosting only one a year, the division is hosting two Legacy Series exhibits in 2019. The Darell Koons exhibit opened Sept. 7 and ran through Oct. 31. The David Appleman exhibit runs Nov. 9 through Dec. 2.

Darell Koons: “Painting Rural America”

Darell Koons Legacy Series headshot

Born and raised in rural Michigan, Darell Koons painted what he knew. In his artist’s statement, he wrote, “An artist must know something about his subject, or he will surely have difficulty painting it. I believe my experience as a child and youth living in rural Michigan has given me knowledge of my subjects, thus, the opportunity to record this passing history of Americana.”

Koons’ style of painting is simple and nostalgic, evoking memories of Normal Rockwell and Little House on the Prairie. His country churches, barns and farmhouses almost look like photographs, but he said of his work, “Many believe I try to duplicate nature. Actually, I try to simplify my subjects, sometimes to their purest shape or form.”

Koons served on the BJU faculty for 40 years. He produced over 2,500 paintings and has been featured in over 40 solo exhibitions and more than 100 group exhibitions. Koons passed away in 2016 after a battle with cancer. His life and career impacted generations of BJU students and faculty.

Dave Appleman: “A Sense of Design”

Dave Appleman portrait

Dave Appleman came to BJU as a freshman art major in 1961, and other than one year away after graduation, he didn’t leave for almost the next 50 years. After graduating with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in art (‘66 and ‘67, respectively), he joined the art faculty in 1968. Appleman split the next decades between teaching and directing the Art Agency (now Marketing). In 1994, he became the chair of the Division of Art + Design. Appleman stepped down as chair in 2007 and retired from BJU in 2010.

Throughout his time at BJU, Appleman influenced many lives, including Bopp. “As a young boy, I used to run around in the Art Agency and play with things that I found in there, and that was Mr. Appleman’s domain,” Bopp said. “When I got to college, I took courses in graphic design from Mr. Appleman, and then became a student worker in the Art Agency. During my first year of graduate school, I was a GA working for Mr. Appleman in the Art Agency.”

Appleman influenced Bopp to such an extent that Bopp followed in his footsteps. “When I came back to BJU in 1995,” said Bopp, “I took over Mr. Appleman’s job as director of the Art Agency and took over the design of the Vintage (a task that Appleman had done for many years). In 2007, Mr. Appleman stepped down from the division chair position, and I took over for him in the role in which I still serve. All along, he trained me and supported me in these roles.”

Appleman’s art is characterized by simplicity. In his artist’s statement, he writes, “I like to keep it simple: sometimes bird or animal forms but often only geometric and without subject.” Appleman enjoys using contrasts and lines to create somewhat abstract images in a variety of media. Appleman’s sculpture, prints, jewelry and paintings have won awards and earned him a place in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, Who’s Who in the South and Southeast and Who’s Who in American Art.

Appleman’s work can be viewed on his website, dappleart.com.

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Krystal Allweil

Krystal Allweil is the content marketing specialist for BJU’s marketing department and is the managing editor for BJUtoday.