Biography Fred's landscapes offer an extraordinary view into the ordinary. Drawing on familiar scenes from the back roads of his native eastern Iowa, he explores both the aesthetics and the character of the place, offering a keen meditation on the power, vulnerability, and eloquence of this beautiful land.
The paintings of Fred Easker are included in museum, corporate and private collections throughout the Midwest and has appeared in a number of periodicals and books. He was an Arts Midwest/NEA Regional Visual Arts Fellowship recipient in 1997. He was featured as an “Iowa Master” in a series produced by Iowa Public Television. Recently he was commissioned by the General Services Administration to create a painting for the United States Federal Courthouse in Cedar Rapids. Over the span of his career he has worked with private galleries in New York, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Tulsa, Des Moines, and Cedar Rapids. The artist holds a BA and MA in Art Education from the University of Iowa.
Fred Easker has been painting full time since 1994. Like most artists he had previously worked at other things including: art instructor at Linn Mar Community Schools; Assistant Director, Cedar Rapids Art Center; and Director, Marion Historical Museum, Inc., a non-profit that owns Granger House, a 19th century middle class house museum located in Marion, Iowa which was completely renovated under Easker’s guidance.
The artist resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he grew up and actively participates in the life of his community by working on boards and organizations involved in the arts, historic preservation and the humanities and was awarded the Friend of the Arts Award from Marion Fine Arts Council in 1993. His wife Velga who was born in Latvia is also an artist. Recently the couple recently established a part time working studio in Lansing, Iowa, an historic small town located in northeast Iowa on the Mississippi River. They have one son and a new grandson who live in the Denver area of Colorado.
Statement I've been painting the landscape in Eastern Iowa for about 15 years and am still excited about the artistic possibilities in a part of our nation not widely known for its scenic beauty, or as Joni Kinsey described in her book Plain Pictures, a land seemingly without prospects.
This is Grant Wood country and I grew up and reside in Cedar Rapids, the city where the artist painted America's most famous picture, American Gothic. While time and industrialization have not always been kind to the rural landscape painted by Wood and his friend Marvin Cone a couple of generations ago, it still offers visual bounty to those who are open.
I have spent nearly all my life here and yet I am still surprised and often startled, by the often subtle but nonetheless stunning visual beauty to be discovered. A simple rural road, an insignificant creek, a swale providing a pathway for excess water through a newly plowed field, a rare grove of trees in a land of 100 acre fields and the gentle rolling land itself are the subjects of the paintings, sites that even Iowans rarely notice and often take for granted. Through careful observation of light and atmosphere and a somewhat transcendental attitude toward the world, my paintings are meditations on these discoveries from my part of the world. Though all the paintings are of specific places and times, I hope their meaning is universal.
SOLO EXHIBITIONS Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1999 North Hennepin Community College, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, 1998 Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa, Iowa, 1998 Fennel Gallery, Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1990 Charles MacNider Museum, Mason City, Iowa, 1984 Fennel Gallery, COE College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa,1984. McAllen Gallery, Mt. Mercy College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1981 Metropolitan Gallery, Cedar Falls, Iowa, 1979. Cedar Rapids Art Center, Cedar Rapids, 1978.
GROUP EXHIBITIONS All Terrain: Perspectives on Landscape, Parkland Art Gallery , Champaign, Illinois, 2006. Contemporary American Landscape, M.A. Doran Gallery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2005. Midwest Landscapes, Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2005. Contemporary American Realism, M.A. Doran Gallery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2005. Contemporary American Realism, M.A. Doran Gallery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2004. Groveland Gallery Group Show, Groveland Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2004. Beyond City Limits: Rural Views of the Midwest, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin, 2004. Gallery and Invited Artists, Sherry French Gallery, New York, 2004. Gallery and Invited Artists, DFN Gallery, New York, 2003. From the Heartland, Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2003. On the Water, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, June 2003. Grant Wood and the Iowa Landscape, Luce Gallery, Cornell College, Mt.Vernon, Iowa, 2003. Landscape: A Universal Language, Corner House Gallery, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 2003. CRMA Triennial Invitational, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapis, Iowa, June 2002. A Vision of Middle America, residence U.S. Ambassador, Vilnius Lithuania, 2001-3. Path and Passage (2 person exhibit), Percival Gallery, Des Moines, Iowa, 2000. Contemporary American Landscape, M.A.Doran Gallery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2000, 2004. Contemporary American Realism III, M.A.Doran Gallery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2000. Contemporary American Landscape, M.A.Doran Gallery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1999. Restructuring the Prairie, Grinned College, Grinnell, Iowa, 1999. OUR GOOD EARTH, The Landscape at the End of the Century, Hemphill Fine Arts, Washington, D. C., 1999. Arts Midwest/NEA Regional Visual Artist Fellowship Recipient Exhibition, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan, 1998. The Iowa Collection, Iowa Department Cultural Affairs, touring 1997-98. Plain Pictures, Images of the American Prairie, University of Iowa Museum of Art, 1996. Drawing out the Land: The Prairie in Eastern Iowa, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, 1996. Midwestern Landscapes, Percival Gallery, Des Moines, 1996. Area Faculty Exhibit, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, 1992. American Myth, Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City, Iowa, 1992. 19th Anderson Winter Show, Anderson Fine Arts Center, Indiana, 1989. 18th Anderson Winter Show, Anderson Fine Arts Center, Indiana, 1988.
1987 Biennial, Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City, Iowa, 1987. Winter Group Exhibition, Groveland Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1987. Still Life Exhibition, Roslyn Art Museum, S/R Gallery, Omaha, Nebraska, 1987. 16th Anderson Winter Show, Anderson Fine Arts Center, Indiana, 1986. Hot National, Hot Institute of Fine Arts, New Castle, Pennsylvania, 1985.
Rockford International, Rockford College, Rockford, Illinois, 1985. Mid-Four, Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri, 1984. Twelve Midwestern Realists, Sioux City Art Center, 1983. Reunion Exhibit, Metropolitan Gallery, Cedar Falls, Iowa, 1983. Iowa Artist Annual, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa, 1983.
SELECTED COLLECTIONS *more than one work Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa* Zurich Kemper Investments, Chicago, Illinois* Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (museum purchase)* Charles H. MacNider Museum, Mason City, Iowa (museum purchase) Commerce Bancshares, Inc., Kansas City, Missouri * Anderson Fine Arts Center, Anderson, Indiana Piper, Jaffrey, Hopwood, Inc., Minneapolis* Cargil, Inc., Minneapolis Poppajohn Center, School of Business Administration, University of Iowa, Iowa City* Northrup King, Inc., Minneapolis Iowa State University Museums, Ames, Iowa University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics* Shugart, Thomson and Kilroy Law Firm, Kansas City, Missouri * International Shrine Headquarters, Tampa MidAmerican Energy Corporate Offices, Davenport, Iowa * MidAmerican Energy Corporate Offices, Des Moines, Iowa * American Telephone and Telegraph, Kansas City* Las Vegas Federal Medical Center, Nellis AFB, Las Vegas* Badger Meter Company, Milwaukee Minnesota Mutual Insurance, Minneapolis Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Des Moines* Iowa Realty Corporate Offices, Des Moines 3M Corportation, Minneapolis Mercy Hospital, Iowa City Shuttleworth and Ingersoll Law Firm, Cedar Rapids* Hawkeye State Bank, Iowa City* Archer Daniels Midland , Cedar Rapids First National Bank, Waterloo Securities Corporation of Iowa, Cedar Rapids* US Bank, Cedar Rapids* University of Iowa School of Dentistry, Iowa City OPN Architects, Cedar Rapids Luther College, Decorah Cedar Rapids Country Club Gentle Dental, Cedar Rapids Perpetual Savings Bank, Cedar Rapids Bradley and Riley Law Firm, Cedar Rapids CRST Corporate Offices, Cedar Rapids* Iowa Medical Clinic, Cedar Rapids, St. Luke’s Hospital, Cedar Rapids Cedar Rapids Airport Commission , Cedar Rapids Brenton Bank, Cedar Rapids First Trust and Savings Bank, Cedar Rapids Clifton Gunderson PLC, Cedar Rapids Diamond V Mills, Cedar Rapids*
PUBLICATIONS New American Paintings, No. 65, Open Studios Press, Wellesley, MA, August, 2006 New American Paintings, No. 47, Open Studios Press, Wellesley, MA, August, 2003 Recovering the Prairie, Robert Sayre, University of Wisconsin Press, 1999. The Artist and the American Landscape, John Driscoll and Arnold Skolnick, First Glance Books, Cobb, California, 1998. New American Paintings, No. 17, Open Studios Press, Wellesley, MA, August, 1998. Icon, “Portrait of two artists and a single landscape,” Todd Kimm, November 12, 1998. An American Landscape Collection, Views from the Heartland, Kemper Funds, 1997. Plain Pictures, Images of the American Prairie, Joni Kinsey, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996. American Art Review, Volume VIII, No. 4, September-October, 1996.