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Acclaimed Artist Donates Abstract Painting to KU

July 23, 2014

KUTZTOWN, Pa. - Artist Paul Harryn '76 has donated his abstract, interpretative painting "Odyssey" to Kutztown University. The work depicts the ten-year homeward journey to Ithaca of the Greek mythological hero Odysseus' following the defeat of the Trojan army.

The 5-by-20-foot work employs layered veils of paint and intermingled, lyrical lines upon fields of pastel colors evoking a Mediterranean setting and suggesting the passage of time. The extensive, panoramic format and cartographic notations make the painting appear like an ancient scroll, immersing the viewer in the melodic mystique of the original story.

The painting is on display in the new lower level atrium of Schaeffer Auditorium. 

Paul Harryn is reputed for a rigorous study of his subjects, as exemplified by his 59-foot "Changing Seasons" painting, exhibited during his recent solo exhibition, "Essence of Nature," at the Allentown Art Museum (January - May 2014). He began working on plans for "Odyssey" as far back as 1974, while still an undergraduate student at Kutztown University.

"Though I've revisited the theme and text many times over the past forty years, every time I reread the poem or began to develop new drawings, a deeper understanding of the story would emerge, modifying my approach," Harryn explained. "Over the years, as I acquired the necessary skills to complete a project of this depth and magnitude, the gradual development of my own style, coupled with a passion for learning during the course of my own personal "odyssey," continually informed my designs and renewed my enthusiasm. The act of returning the painting to the very place of learning that spawned its development strikes me as a fitting tribute - one that highlights the journey over the destination."