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Large-Scale Landscape Paintings Showcase Journey Across North Carolina

04-23-2012 06:02 PM CET | Arts & Culture

Press release from: Barton College

An extraordinary series is developing in North Carolina, a Southern regional artist’s vision is coming to life, and a portrait of the state of North Carolina is being made. J. Chris Wilson, professor of art and artist-in-residence at Barton College, has embarked on a journey across North Carolina and is now working toward a goal of 100 paintings that will showcase the state’s richness and scenic diversity. Wilson’s From Murphy to Manteo – An Artist’s Scenic Journey series of paintings captures the heritage and history of North Carolina through a personal voice, continuing in the regionalist tradition of the South.

Described as a champion of American regionalism, Wilson takes audiences on a unique journey through North Carolina, presenting vast, yet detailed, panoramas of scenic landscapes along the U.S. Highway 64 corridor, a 563-mile journey from the mountains to the sea. On Wilson’s journeys across the state, he captured multiple compositions of large landscapes — including waterfalls, cotton fields, country roads, mountains and coastlines — and used them as the inspiration for a comprehensive portrait of the North Carolina landscape.

“I have been painting the North Carolina landscape for more than 35 years, but the current body of work began to take shape as a series more than a decade ago,” said Wilson. “Although I began the journey seeking only to represent North Carolina scenic landscapes, along the way I found something of myself reflected in the scenes. My wish for the series is that viewers might find something of themselves reflected in the paintings also.“

Several of Wilson’s large landscape paintings included in his From Murphy to Manteo series are on exhibit in the lobby of the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. His detailed and painterly oil-on-canvas works, some measuring nearly 16 feet in width, often portray more than the camera lens or eye can see. Wilson currently has 27 of the large-scale oil paintings completed, and he plans to add another 73 by 2014. When the series is complete, the 100 paintings will serve as a broad-sweeping survey of North Carolina vistas.

The From Murphy to Manteo project evolved after Wilson became interested in serial landscape images while teaching at a university in Japan during a sabbatical. He began to visualize the entire state of North Carolina as potential subject matter for a series, a visual journey for viewers to experience.

“We are pleased to have Chris’ beautiful paintings on view in the museum lobby,” said Ken Howard, Director of the North Carolina Museum of History. “Our permanent exhibit The Story of North Carolina chronicles over 14,000 years of the state’s history. Chris’ series of paintings From Manteo to Murphy is a perfect complement to this exhibit, as it gives our visitors an artist’s representation of some of the counties featured in the exhibit.“

Although a Georgia native, Wilson has resided in North Carolina since the early 1970s. He began teaching art at Barton College in the fall of 1974 and is currently in his 37th year with the College. Wilson’s designation as artist-in-residence is the first in the history of the school. He has exhibited throughout the Southeast and all across North Carolina. Wilson’s art is represented in numerous public and private collections in the United States, especially in the Southeast, and in England, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

About the N.C. Museum of History:

The Museum of History, within the Division of State History Museums, is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. The museum is located at 5 E. Edenton Street, across from the State Capitol. Parking is available in the lot across Wilmington Street. Museum hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information about the Museum of History, call 919-807-7900 or access

About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported symphony orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council, and the State Archives. Cultural Resources champions North Carolina’s creative industry, which employs nearly 300,000 North Carolinians and contributes more than $41 billion to the state’s economy. To learn more, visit

About Barton College:

Barton College, founded in 1902, is a four-year, private, liberal arts college located in Wilson, North Carolina. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the 2012 Best Regional Colleges in the South and by Princeton Review as one of the 2012 Best Colleges in the Southeast, Barton offers a wide range of professional and liberal arts programs leading to the baccalaureate degree, as well as a Master of Education degree in Elementary Education. Committed to providing a challenging academic environment in the classroom, Barton also provides a strong focus on student leadership development outside the classroom. Serving a population of about 1,180 students, the College draws students regionally, nationally, and internationally to provide a remarkably diverse student population for the Barton Experience. For more information on Barton College, please visit

About J. Chris Wilson:

The former director for the Scholastic Art Awards for Eastern North Carolina, J. Chris Wilson is originally from Waycross and St. Simons Island, Ga. He is married to Kathleen and has a son Matthew and a daughter Singleton. Wilson has served on the faculty of Barton College from 1974 to 2012 and, now, is continuing at Barton as artist-in-residence. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia, where he also completed post-graduate work, with Lamar Dodd as his major professor.

For additional information or to view Wilson’s work, please visit

Maria Martinat
8521 Six Forks Road, #400
Raleigh, NC 27615

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