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Artist/Musician Lennie Peterson to Exhibit at Harvard University

Lennie Peterson brings his passion for the marriage of Music and Visual Art to Harvard University with his exhibit "Lines Walking".

The exhibition will be presented by Harvard University's "Three Columns Gallery" at The Mather House from Wednesday, February 17 to Friday, April 16, 2010.

Prominently featured will be Peterson’s large composer portraits, part of an ongoing series that combine his lifelong devotion to art, music and arts education. The original portraits are hand-drawn with pen, ink and oil paint and are three-feet wide and six-feet high. They will be displayed at the gallery along with many other of Peterson’s drawings and prints. Works include portraits of Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, and Thelonious Monk.

“Creating these portraits on a large scale is my way of paying tribute to composers whose music has the power to change the world,” says Peterson. “Artists who, in my opinion, deserve to be larger than life! I can accomplish this through portraiture on a large scale. I’m really looking forward to exhibiting at Three Columns Gallery. It's the perfect setting for these works.”

The Mather House is home to an especially vibrant and welcoming artistic community that includes various Arts events, gallery exhibitions, installations, theatrical performances, music lectures and recitals. Mather is one of only two houses in the Harvard community with its own art gallery.

The location of the gallery, in the foyer space leading in from the courtyard, allows art to become an integral part of the daily life of House residents.

"The columns of the gallery are in an open space that reaches two stories high. It is a great environment to see the large portraits from many angles and vantage points. My smaller pieces will surround the portraits on the walls around the columns. There is a lot of freedom and space there for the art to be enjoyed."

And Mather's musical tradition is nearly as old as the House itself, now in its 27th year, and several early music activities occur there. A music recital presented by staff and students of Mather along with a presentation and lecture by Peterson is scheduled for mid-March.

Peterson compares the creative process of his original artwork to that of a jazz musician. “Most of the work on a portrait is improvised and spontaneous once the basic outline is complete. It is similar to a musician who is able to improvise freely and spontaneously within a given form and framework of chord structures.”

The artwork of award-winning artist Lennie Peterson has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in galleries throughout the United States, including the the Angel Orensanz Foundation Center for the Arts in New York City, the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center in New York, the Littlefield Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, and the Atlantic Works Gallery and Bromfield Gallery in Boston.

“The Big Picture,” his nationally syndicated daily comic strip appeared in more than 100 newspapers and was published as a book collection by Andrews/McMeel Publishing. In addition, Peterson has written and illustrated nearly a dozen books. As a musician, artist, and teacher he has traveled the world several times and currently tours with La Pasion Seguin San Marcus and Osvaldo Golijov. Peterson was a professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and on the faculty of the South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, Massachusetts. His music credits include accomplishments as composer, arranger, conductor, music consultant, and producer.

The theme of the "Lines Walking" exhibit is a tribute to a quote by the artist Paul Klee, one of Peterson's influences. Klee said, "A drawing is simply a line going for a walk."

Peterson says, "That speaks to me as a wonderful explanation for this improvisational style of line drawing. One line leads to another and another, allowing the pen and the line to 'walk' and ramble throughout the overall composition."

The opening reception for the "Lines Walking" Exhibit will be held on February 17, 2010 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public with music provided by Boston based jazz pianist Tim Butterworth.

The Three Columns Gallery at Harvard University's Mather House is located at 10 Cowperthwaite Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (http://mather.harvard.edu/arts)

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