March 7, 2007
By Jason Krump
Art and athletics at Washington State University each have a long and distinguished history at the institution, but the disciplines have rarely been linked with each other. Because of a gift from a former WSU art professor, this has changed.
Robert Feasley, a member of the Fine Arts Faculty at WSU from 1958-88, donated eight paintings to the University, four of which now reside in the Bohler Athletic Complex and four at the Student Recreation Center.
The eight paintings are part of the "Track and Field" series, which consists of 14 paintings, each with a specific track and field theme. Feasley created the series in the early `70s, using the 1972 Summer Olympics as part of his inspiration.
"The paintings might be thought of as akin to stop-action photos: a moment caught on canvas."
"I was intrigued with the idea of the human body in action," Feasley said. "I was struck by the grace and seeming ease of the athletes, and yet, the underlying tension and effort that was called for. The dynamics of the two opposing forces were what I was working toward.
"The paintings might be thought of as akin to stop-action photos: a moment caught on canvas," Feasley added.
Of the four paintings displayed inside the Bohler Athletic Complex, three, depicting the javelin, pole vault and running, are hung inside the Bohler Galleria. One painting, portraying hurdling, is displayed inside the WSU Track & Field office.
"We are very appreciative of Robert Feasley's donation of works from his track and field series of paintings," WSU Senior Associate Athletic Director Marcia Saneholtz said. "They truly have been a wonderful addition to our facilities and we are grateful to Mr. Feasley for his generosity."
"It's great Mr. Feasley has the talent that he does, and the interest in track and field," WSU Head Track & Field Coach Rick Sloan said. "He has generated some beautiful works of art that we are proudly displaying in our galleria and our office. It lends a touch of class to our facilities."
Four other paintings -- the triple jump, the long jump, and the relay (set of two) -- are displayed inside the Student Recreation Center.
"We are delighted to have the paintings hanging in the Student Recreation Center," Kathleen Hatch, Executive Director, University Recreation said. "Not only do they celebrate athletes in action, they are part of WSU history. We are honored to have Mr. Feasley's art as part of the experience at the Student Recreation Center."
WSU alumnus Mark Duris came up with the idea of donating the track and field paintings to WSU. Feasley liked the idea so Duris, who is a 1973 graduate of WSU with a degree in fine arts, contacted Saneholtz and supplied her with a disk containing pictures of the paintings.
"Once we received the disk showing the works, we were very excited," Saneholtz said. "Knowing that we would not have suitable space to hang all eight works, we contacted Kathleen Hatch to see if they would be interested in hanging four. They were equally excited about the prospect of displaying such outstanding works that had a direct connection to the activities that take place in our facilities."
Feasley, who currently resides in Copalis Beach, Wash., is an avid runner. A smoker until the age of 50, Feasley's interest in running began when he decided to give up smoking.
"I needed to do something to get over smoking and running was a good way to go," Feasley said.
Born in Downers Grove, Illinois and raised in California, Feasley attended the University of Oregon where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1951. He studied under Max Beckmann at Mills College in the summer of 1950 and attended L'Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris in 1953, during a year of study and travel in Europe.
On his return in 1953, he settled in the Northwest where he began his teaching career at what is now the University of Puget Sound. In 1958, he became a member of the Fine Arts Faculty at Washington State University.
Feasley's work has been displayed at shows throughout the Northwest and the nation dating back to 1951.