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historic

Capturing the VMI spirit with Maria Reardon

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Capturing the VMI spirit with Maria Reardon

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Another school year is about to pass and once again there will be a new crop of eager VMI graduates ready to take over the world. This year is kind of special as Cabell’s son Jack graduates. He comes from a long line of VMI grads including his father, uncle, and both his grandfathers. But that is not that unusual with Virginia Military Institute. Tradition is a core value, it practically seeps from the imposing walls. It’s a feeling that you recognize as soon as you walk onto post, but it is not necessarily an easy thing to capture in a painting, unless, or course, you are Maria Reardon. Maria knows about VMI tradition. Her husband is a graduate (‘87) and her twin boys both graduated in 2014. It is with this familiarity that she is able to capture simple moments of life at VMI and allows you to truly feel the emotion of what it must be like to be there.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John 12x16 Pastel Maria Reardon.jpg

Maria works in pastels and she loves being outdoors, immersed in the world, observing and experiencing everything going on around her. She's drawn to the unique and ever-changing relationships of form and color. She is intrigued by the unexpected combinations of light and color which characterize her work. If there is one thing people always remark to me is that her work has so much color, but she is able to do this while maintaining the realism of her subjects.

Pastureland and House Mountain 10x20 Pastel Maria Reardon.jpg
Navigating the Maury River through Goshen Pass 12x16 Pastel Maria Reardon.jpg

Maria is a Virginia native and received her formal education from Virginia Commonwealth University earning a Bachelor’s of Fine Art in illustration. She lives in Richmond but has a getaway home in Goshen, here in the wilds of Rockbridge County. This love for Rockbridge County and Lexington also shows up in her work, her ability to capture the slices of life locally is as intimate and impressive as those she does of VMI.

The Cabell Gallery is proud to feature Maria Reardon’s work year round. True, many people seem to get sentimental around graduation time. But the thing about VMI tradition it is a lot more than one season. And the thing about Maria Reardon is she has the uncanny gift of the ability to capture it all.

Click here to see Maria’s available works.

View of Main Street 12x20 Pastel Maria Reardon.jpg

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Fine Art...With A Side Of History at September's Very Special First Friday

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Fine Art...With A Side Of History at September's Very Special First Friday

We know you already have First Friday’s Gallery Walk on your calendar for every month because we always have a wonderful turnout, but in September we have an extra-special reason to make 5 W. Washington your first stop!

At 5 p.m., Cabell Gorman, owner of the Cabell Gallery of Fine Art, and Harry H. Warner, owner of the building at 5 W. Washington St. in downtown Lexington, will be celebrating the dedication of a plaque commemorating the unique history of our 1914 building, which has been designated officially by the Historic Lexington Foundation as the “Withrow Gift Shop”. 

Although the current building is just over a century old, it stands on one of the original half-acre lots on the six original streets laid out after Lexington was created as a county seat in 1777.  In 1792, William Alexander purchased all the lots on the present west side of Washington Street between Main and Jefferson Streets.  He built one of the oldest – and finest - standing structures in town, known now as the Alexander-Withrow House (location of The Georges today). 

Owned by a succession of other prominent citizens and their families, including John Leyburn and George Baker, Jack Withrow purchased the property in 1886 and constructed the “Gift Shop” in 1914. Withrow and his descendants owned the property for over 80 years. 

In 1969, 5 W. Washington and the Withrow Gift Shop was sold as a separate parcel, despite the earnest endeavors of the recently created Historic Lexington Foundation, which hoped to keep the property intact.  Although outbid at auction on the Withrow Gift Shop, the Historic Lexington Foundation was able to acquire and preserve the Alexander-Withrow House. 

Even with all the interior changes in recent decades, the Withrow Gift Shop has had the good fortune to maintain what has been described as, “the typical Victorian Shop Front configuration.  This entails two large windows flanking a central recessed door.  “Up above, the cornice is quite simple with small brackets and carved blocks.”

Between 1969 and 2013, when it was purchased by Harry H. Warner, the Withrow Gift Shop housed several businesses including Lexington Lighting and the law office of renowned attorney Larry Mann (husband of Lexington's most famous photographer, Sally Mann.) And, of course, Cabell Gallery of Fine Art will soon be celebrating three successful years at 5 W. Washington with many more yet to come. Future historians take note!

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