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On February 2nd, Radford University debuted an art exhibition titled “Ed LeShock: A Retrospective” as a tribute to commemorate the life and work of the late Dr. Ed LeShock, former Associate Professor of Art at the University. From graphic design to a drawing, he taught a variety of art classes during his career as a professor and was well-loved by his peers and students.
Dr. LeShock began teaching at the university in 1977 continued to do so until his death in 2013. His work was featured at galleries both national and international during his lifetime. Raised as a Catholic, Dr. LeShock also donated his own portrayal of the Stations of the Cross to Radford’s own St. Jude’s parish. Since there are fourteen of these “Stations” (fifteen if you count the Resurrection of Christ), this was no easy feat and a highly generous donation to the parish.
The exhibition is a testament to Dr. LeShock’s talent, productivity, and versatility through various mediums as an artist. It features mixed-media canvases, collages, charcoal and graphite sketches, sculptures, and even a fiber design. However, one of the unique sections of the gallery features at least half a dozen two-window pictures frames; one of those windows on these frames features a poem (or an excerpt of a poem) while the other frame features a corresponding charcoal sketch. The uniqueness of this portion of the exhibition lies in just how complementary the poems and sketches are to each other. By observing them both—side by side—the viewer is able to walk away with a clearer understanding of each.
The mixed-media and canvas works feature prominent shades of yellow, blue, and green—three separate works feature each color. I was unable to uncover if this was Dr. LeShock’s intention to use all three colors because of this reason, but yellow and blue give birth to green. Most of the works are undated, so I was unable to uncover if Dr. LeShock intended to create a sequence of color through those projects.
I visited the exhibition during a time when no one else was present, which was incredibly surreal. I almost felt like I was no longer in Radford. Time itself seemed to slow as I strolled from canvas to canvas and took in the artistic legacy of a man I had never even heard of before. While I was unfamiliar with his work before my trip to the exhibition, discovering and viewing his creative output feels like I have uncovered a rare and precious treasure. Like all great artists before him, Dr. Ed LeShock lives on through his work. It is impossible to walk out of the exhibition unchanged; at the very least, you will find yourself desiring a legacy of your own.
The exhibition “Ed LeShock: A Retrospective” is open until March 1st. It is located in the Art Museum at the Covington Center. Admission is free for all, not just the students and faculty of Radford University.