Thelma Speed Houston Watercolors on Exhibit

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The exhibit of watercolors of American commercial and fine artist Thelma Speed Houston will open on Tuesday, March 1, from 7-9 p.m. in the Brooks Gallery of Fairmont State’s Wallman Hall.

Dr. John Super and Marian J. Hollinger will speak about Houston’s work. The exhibition will continue through March 31 and is free and open to the public.

The works on display are from the collection of Dr. John Super, Professor of History at West Virginia University. Super has had an interest in the visual arts for most of his academic career and has been collecting, chiefly landscapes, for the past several years. This is the first opportunity for Super to work as curator and spokesman for a part of his own collection.

Houston was born in Bronx, N.Y., in 1914. She studied at the Pratt Institute in New York City. She was a textile designer for A. Sulka and Company of New York and Paris. A member of the Laguna Beach Art Association, this New York native became a passionate Californian. The subjects of her watercolors are cityscapes, seascapes and marine scenes. This connection attracted Super to her work, as he is a native Californian, drawn to landscapes and seascapes from his own experience with the water and the sun. Houston died in 2000.

Many of Houston’s works show her ability to incorporate both the imaginary and the actual in her scenes. A more-then-casual observation of her work yields symbolic, even spiritual, aspects that are tantalizing to the scholar who views the exhibition.

The exhibition was organized and researched by Super, Hollinger and FS students in the gallery course, including Lauren Adams, Kevin Smith, Anna Sherer, Christina VanDeysen, Timothy Clayton, Destiny Ferrell, Lindsay Richards, Micah Zbach, Jessica Allen, Amanda Henderson and Mindy Ruggles.

Regular gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For special viewing arrangements at other times, call Curator Marian J. Hollinger at (304) 367-4300 or e-mail her at