Museum Celebrates Spring with Colorful Works

Posted on 3/21/2014 11:24:45 AM

The University Museum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will celebrate spring with a colorful collection of paintings and drawings in an exhibit titled “Roots and Wings: Maura Koehler Keeney and David Tomb.” The exhibit opens April 5 and runs through May 17, 2014. Admission is free. The exhibit will open with a free public reception on Saturday, April 5, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. 

The featured artists share a connection to nature involving a fascination with the intricacies of its life forms and a concern for their struggles to survive in changing climates.

Keeney’s (painting seen below) early work focused on printmaking and drawing and has evolved to painting with oil on large canvases. Her bold paintings of plant forms magnify their details and emphasize the play of light on petals, leaves, bark, and intertwined roots.

Keeney explains, “By studying a minute part, I am looking to understand the whole. In fact, the wondrous complexities of one chestnut on a tree or one tree in a forest can help us in comprehending much of our world.”

Keeney received her BS and MA degrees from IUP and has exhibited throughout Pennsylvania and New York, including award-winning works at the Westmoreland Art Nationals, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, and Penn State University’s Robeson Gallery, among others. 

Tomb (painting seen above) describes himself as a “bird nerd kid” with a BFA in painting and drawing from California State University, Long Beach, Calif. He spent 20 years painting portraits before returning to his first love—birds.

His colorful paintings and drawings are inspired by birding trips and his research at science institutions in California and New York, with his current work focused on birds of the Philippines.

He is a cofounder of Jeepney Projects Worldwide–Art for Conservation, which supports efforts to advocate for endangered species and foster habitat conservation. Tomb has exhibited nationally, and his work is in the collections of the Huntington Library, the Oakland Museum, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, and the Consulate General of the United States: Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana.   

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Indiana Garden Club is sponsoring a public competition to create living materials arrangements based on individual art works, with participation limited to 10 people. The arrangements will be displayed at the opening reception and during the following week, and a People’s Choice Award will be determined by the votes of visitors to the exhibition during that week. For information, contact the garden club at 724-541-4318, or e-mail

Two exhibition tours with the artists will also be offered, including  Saturday, April 5, at 4:00 p.m. with Tomb and Wednesday, April 23, with Keeney.

The University Museum is located on the first floor of John Sutton Hall.

The museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 2:00–6:30 p.m.; Thursday, noon–7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, noon–4:00 p.m. The museum is closed Sunday, Monday, and all university holidays. For additional information and to schedule group tours of the exhibition, please call 724-357-2397.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by the Student Cooperative Association at IUP and by private donations. The museum also receives grant support from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts through the Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance.Painting by Maura Koehler Keeney

University Museum

Roots and Wings: Keeney and Tomb

Roots and Wings: Keeney and Tomb

April 5, 2014
May 16, 2014

University Museum, Sutton Hall

Nature’s color and intricate details are highlights of Maura Keeney’s floral and plant form paintings and David Tomb’s paintings and drawings of tropical birds. A public reception will be held on April 5 at 6:00–8:30 p.m.

This event is over.

For more information, visit Roots and Wings, e-mail , or call 724-357-2787.