Don Eddy, Time and Tide, 2014, acrylic on panel, 36 x 74 in. Lent Courtesy of Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York

The Huntsville Museum of Art is proud to premiere a new exhibition of contemporary airbrush art. Under Pressure: Painting with Air – A Survey of Contemporary Airbrush Realism is comprised of 45 works, wide-ranging in theme, by notable artists who have chosen airbrush as their principal medium of expression.

Most people are familiar with airbrushing as a method used by commercial artists to decorate a broad range of material culture such as t-shirts, sporting equipment, cakes, makeup, tattoos, and vehicles. Though a hip medium in the world of commercial art today, airbrush is actually a 19th-century invention. Francis Stanley patented a simple atomizer airbrush to colorize photographs in 1876. Some fifteen years later, Charles Burdick revolutionized the tool with his patented double action, internal-mix airbrush similar to those used today. It contained paint somewhat like a fountain pen and featured an index finger trigger, repositioning the air supply through the bottom to improve balance and control. Burdick’s invention was promoted by Thayer and Chandler, a Chicago mail-order arts and crafts retailer, which also showcased it at the 1892 World Columbian Exposition. As other improvements ensued, the medium took off.

“The last exhibition to broadly survey airbrushed fine art that I am aware of was The Artist and The Airbrush, curated by Barbara Rogers 40 years ago at San Jose State University in California,” asserts David K. Wagner, the curator of Under Pressure: Painting with Air. Consequently, he feels his exhibition was a long time coming.

Dru Blair, Floyd, 2010, acrylic on paper, 29.5 x 23.5 in.

Under Pressure: Painting with Air – A Survey of Contemporary Airbrush Realism is a survey exhibition of contemporary realism by 15 exceptional airbrush artists from around the U.S. and beyond. The exhibition, made possible by presenting sponsor IberiaBank, opens at the Huntsville Museum of Art on Sunday, October 24. It will be on display in the in the Huth, Boeing and Salmon galleries of the Museum and will be included with the general price of admission. Admission can be purchased at the front desk in the lobby of the Museum or online here.

Following the opening of Under Pressure: Painting with Air, there will be a lecture and reception on Thursday, October 28 at 6 p.m. Don Eddy, an artist included in the exhibition, will lead the lecture. Eddy is a contemporary representational painter who gained recognition in American art around 1970. He has worked in cycles, treating various imagery from different formal and conceptual viewpoints. He moved from detailed images of automobile sections and window displays in the ’70s to challenging mash-ups of still lifes and landscapes scenes in the ’80s, and then transitioned to mysterious multi-panel paintings in his latter career. Tickets to the Lecture and Reception are $25 for Museum Members and $50 for Non-Members. They can be purchased on the museum’s website here.