The time showing on the clock on one of Marietta College's oldest buildings in the late William H. Gerhold's painting "Campus Sentinel - Erwin Hall" was not an afterthought or a random selection.
"There's a significance with the time," said Gerhold's widow, Debra Gerhold Shively. "It's five after six, so he's thinking downtime, it's fall, mid-terms, so students (are) starting to feel accustomed to college life."
The painting, commissioned in 1985 by a college trustee and an alumnus, is the centerpiece of an exhibit of Gerhold's work at the John Rossi Art Gallery, 104 Front St., Marietta. On Friday evening and again from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Shively was on hand to discuss the watercolor and oil paintings and pen-and-ink pieces by her late husband, a nationally recognized artist and retired Marietta College professor.
EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Debra Gerhold Shively, left, discusses the print “College Sentry — Erwin Hall” with John Rossi Art Gallery director Ann Corbett Friday during the opening of an exhibit of artwork by Shively’s late husband, William H. Gerhold.
"I'm just visiting with old friends and sharing stories about the work," she said.
Gerhold was head of the art department at Marietta several times during his 28 years there. In addition to his work at the college, he conducted on-location painting classes in West Virginia's Canaan Valley and Maryland's Eastern Shore.
Although a stroke in 1996 cost him the use of his right side and his ability to speak, Gerhold's artwork continued as he made pen-and-ink drawings with his left hand to use for Christmas cards.
If you go
What: Homecoming Receptions: The William H. Gerhold Exhibition.
When: 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Where: John Rossi Art Gallery, 104 Front St., Marietta.
Special guest: Debra Gerhold Shively,
A portion of the proceeds from print sales will be donated to the Marietta College Art Department.
Shively was approached by the people who run the gallery about putting up a display, the first showing of Gerhold's work outside his and his wife's gallery at their Little Hocking home since his death in February 2011.
"It makes me feel good," Shively said. "And it brings back a lot of memories. Because I was around for many of them."
One that stands out to her is of a fall scene showing the driveway to their house in Canaan Valley.
"You can smell it, and you can feel it," she said.
There are some prints of Gerhold's work for sale, particularly those of the Erwin Hall painting. The official opening of the show was timed to coincide with Marietta College's homecoming weekend, when a number of alumni would be in town. A portion of the proceeds from print sales will benefit the college's Art Department.
A trio of MC alumni were browsing in the gallery Friday evening. Among them was Pittsburgh resident John Diaddigo, 63, whose wife was a student of Gerhold's at the college.
"My wife had a lot of respect for him," Diaddigo said.
Gallery director Anna Corbett described Gerhold's work as "timeless" and said she's happy to have it up for people to appreciate.
"The number of people I've met that knew him or worked with him or knew of him is amazing," she said.
Corbett said the display - which includes about 20 pieces by Gerhold and four by Shively, an art teacher at Williamstown High School - will remain up into November. There likely will be a wall devoted to Gerhold's work, possibly with some other pieces brought in, for some time after.