Press Releases

Monmouth College dedicated its spring 2018 magazine to the Arts. A special article about Professor Blum is included on page 27.


A new exhibit by Professor Emeritus Harlow Blum (with sculptor Fisher Stolz) at the Galesburg Civic Art Center. Titled “Nature vs Man,” it opens Friday May 22 and runs through June 20. 

An opening reception will be held Friday May 22 from 5-7 p.m. 

Harlow’s portion of the exhibit, titled “Fire and Ice,” consists of 35 multimedia collages. It is a combination of works from his iceberg series (seen at his last MC exhibit) and a new series on volcanos, inspired by his trip last year to Hawaii. 

Fisher Stolz exhibits nationally, with work notably at the Hamilton Train Station in New Jersey and the International Terminal at O’Hare Airport in Chicago.  Recent commissions include a major outdoor sculpture for Caterpillar. His sculpture is created primarily in stone, steel and cast metals that range in scale from interior pedestal pieces through large outdoor works.  Fisher received his Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Georgia and also studied abroad in Cortona, Italy.  A resident of Washington, Ill., he has taught sculpture at Bradley University since 1994.


Blum displays 50-year retrospective exhibit at Monmouth College
News Release  January 6, 2009

Image of Antarctic Morning

MONMOUTH, Ill. — Just in time to usher in the new year, Monmouth College is hosting a retrospective art exhibit of one its legendary emeritus art professors, Harlow B. Blum. Titled “40 + 10 Retrospective,” Blum’s exhibit will continue through Jan. 30 in the Len G. Everett Gallery in Hewes Library.

A gallery talk will held on Jan. 16 at 2 p.m. followed by a reception until 4 p.m. for the artist. The gallery talk, reception and exhibit are all free and open to the public.

In this 50-year retrospective, Blum has included 112 selected works produced during the 40 years he taught art at Monmouth College (1959-99), as well as work from his 10 years of retirement. He has carefully selected representative pieces from his early years, when he worked primarily with oil paint and printmaking. The themes include Japan, which was a major influence in his work, as well as warriors, jazz, nature and family. The Japanese works focus on the use of Japanese handmade papers and feature cultural themes such as Genji, Ryoan-Ji, tea houses, Noh Drama, Mount Fuji, bamboo and farm house works.

Blum’s early work in the 1950s and 1960s was created primarily in the etching/printmaking medium on nature themes from which such notable pieces as “Secluded Place” and “Nocturnal” – which are both included in the exhibit – were created. Other prints from this period dealt with musical subjects, as noted in the etching, “Jam Session,” and his popular “Chamber Music” engraving. At the same time, he continued to work in oils on canvas and masonite on several paintings, using the warrior as a theme. One of his most notable pieces is the large canvas, “Kabuki Warrior” (1965), which is also included in his retrospective exhibit.

Another of his major printmaking efforts, “The Four Winds” (1966), which is based on the classical Greek myth of the four winds, is on display as a representation of his early artistic accomplishments.

In 1967-68, Blum received a Ford Foundation grant to travel to Japan, where he conducted research on printmaking techniques and also worked with Japanese printmakers in the study of traditional, wood block prints called Ukiyo-e, and modern printmaking techniques called Hanga. He also spent six months in Kyoto, where he studied landscape gardens.

In 1974-75, Blum returned to Japan as director of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Japan Study program at Waseda University.

Blum says the experiences of studying the culture and arts of other countries had a profound impact on his creative work, leading to a shift from oil painting to collage, using handmade Japanese papers and brocade cloth pieces to create the first of many of his series: Genji Series (1967 to present), Ryoan-Ji Garden Series (1968 to present), the Kimono Series (1976) and the Noh Series (1970).

The artist’s interest in texture and a wide range of materials extend to his “Rust Works Series” (1970s to present), and the use of foam was also useful both in his later Ryoan-Ji works and now in the present Global Warming Series, which is making its debut at the retrospective.

In addition, the artist’s themes of the “Last Ride,” the “Candidate Series” and certain Warrior pieces provide background on his responses to cultural events.

Blum holds a bachelor’s degree in painting from the University of Illinois, a master’s degree in painting from Michigan State University and an M.F.A. in printmaking from Syracuse University. He has held solo exhibitions in Tokyo, Kyoto, New York City, St. Louis, Chicago and the local area.

Within the last few years, Blum has completed construction on his property in Monmouth of a two-car garage that has above it an art studio and gallery that is now featuring some of his selected works.

“It was a dream of mine for quite a while to create a space in which I could display some of my own art and where I can work on some of my larger pieces,” he says. The idyllic 24x24-foot space, which blends magically into his property’s wooded and pristine acreage, is accomplishing just that, as it includes a vaulted ceiling that gives visitors the feeling of being in a chic gallery in Greenwich Village.

Architecturally, the gallery/studio/garage suggests the style of a New England salt box with its slanted roof that reaches a 25-foot peak and then drops off dramatically. The idea, says Blum, was to complement his home, which also has elements of the same architectural style. They both are situated on more than an acre of wooded and secluded land on the edge of Monmouth.

The Everett Gallery is open during regular library hours: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to midnight; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to midnight.

Released by the Office of College Communications

Barry McNamara, Associate Director of College Communications

Phone: 309-457-2117

Fax: 309-457-2330


Retired MC art professor brings American West to life in new exhibit

Release Date: September 22, 2006

GALESBURG, Ill--An exhibition of new collage paintings by Monmouth College professor of art emeritus Harlow B. Blum will be presented Oct. 3 through Nov. 30 at Q’s Café in Galesburg.

Titled “Coastal/Canyon Works,” the display will feature approximately 30 pieces from a series begun two years ago, inspired by the rugged landscapes observed by Blum in trips to Utah, California and other western states. An opening reception for the artist will be held at the gallery Oct. 6 from 4:30 until 6:30 p.m.

Departing from his signature collages and paintings, which often employ brocades and handmade papers to explore East Asian themes, Blum chose to focus the series on the natural beauty of the American west, and devised a novel technique in the process. Having observed that by themselves neither the photographs he took at each ocean or desert venue, nor the interesting shells and rocks he collected there provided a completely satisfying story of the actual experience, he decided to combine the photos with the artifacts.

Blum prefers not to describe his technique in detail, but instead hopes viewers will come to the exhibit with a degree of curiosity, so that in the process of discovering how the collage paintings were made they will experience the same sense of delight he did in creating them.

While the exhibition represents a significant departure for Blum, he observed that some of the same ideas that guided his earlier work—particularly his period of designing Japanese rock gardens—recurred while creating this series. “With rock gardens, you begin with the garden wall and build outward toward a particular vantage point,” he explained, noting that in his current work the photograph serves a purpose similar to the garden wall, while the objects from nature are built outward toward the viewer’s eye. “It’s a three-dimensional, almost tromp l’oeil effect,” he said.

Blum, who retired in 1999 after a 40-year teaching career at Monmouth, holds a bachelor’s degree in painting from the University of Illinois, a master’s degree in painting from Michigan State University and an M.F.A. in printmaking from Syracuse University. He has held solo exhibitions in Tokyo, Kyoto, New York City, St. Louis, Chicago and the local area.

The Q’s Café gallery is located at 319 East Main St. Hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Friday. The café is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.