Ron porter

Ron Porter recently retired from Vanderbilt University where he was a professor of art for 14 years. Porter received his MFA from Ohio University.  His paintings are surrealist in nature, often depicting dramatic, exquisitely rendered landscapes interposed with mysterious still lifes or trucks indecipherably blended into the natural scenery.  Exploring ironies and paradoxes, his paintings emphasize the dynamic tensions integral to existence, such as those between clarity and ambiguity, spontaneity and planning, truth and illusion.  Intriguingly, these tensions are as much a part of life as they are the creative process.  Technically proficient, intelligent, and with a good sense of humor, his work stirs thought provoking questions about life and the enigmatic yet precious relationship we have with our surroundings. 


The paintings are a fusion of place and imagination. They are constructed from memory as well as photographic references.

The thing that interests me most is bringing visual ideas and experiences onto canvas. I keep the possibilities open during the painting process and this results in clarity and ambiguity, spontaneity and planning, truth and illusion, to exist side by side.

When the ordinary, and often banal, connect with the ambiguous I find the commonplace elevated. It’s a way of visualizing my mind’s eye, and in a larger sense, reveals a kind of underlying truth about human nature that lives just beyond the imagery.

The work is best looked into, than looked at.



                Master of Fine Arts (Honors).-Painting  Ohio University  Athens  OH  1989

                Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honors)-Painting Middle Tennessee State University  1987


                Professional  Studio Production  Painting & Drawing 1987 to present

                Senior Lecturer Studio Art  Vanderbilt University  1998-2012

                Adjunct Professor of Art Middle Tennessee State University  Fall  1997

                Visiting Professor of Art  Ohio University, 1994 Spring-1995 Winter/Spring

                Visiting Professor of Art  University of Wyoming  Summer Session  1991

                Adjunct Professor of Art  Shawnee State University 1989-90

                Visiting Professor of Art  Ohio University 1989-90         

                Production Coordinator-Governor’s School of TN Summer MTSU  1987-88

                Teaching Associate Graduate Studies  Ohio University  1987-89


                Huntsville Museum of Art Red Clay Survey Purchase Award  2007

                BRENAU College National Invitational, GA Best of Show Painting Cash Award ‘94

                Merit & Purchase Awards People’s Bank Collection Marietta, OH 1994

                Ohio Arts Council - Individual Fellowship  $5000  1994  

               T.N.T. Co  Patron Award   Columbus, OH  1993

               BRENAU  Nat. Invitational  GA   Best Of Show Painting  Cash Award 1992

                CONFLUENCE  ‘92  National  Painting/Drawing Juror’s Cash Award  1992

                Washington & Jefferson College Nat. Painting Exhibition Juror Cash Award PA 1992     

                17th Annual Nat.Painting Show Hays University Kansas Juror’s Award  1992

                Huntington 280:WORKS ON WALLS  Honorable Mention  WV  1992

                Ohio Arts Council -Individual Fellowship  $10,000 1990

                Huntington 280:WORKS ON WALLS  Honorable Mention   WV  1990

                Mid-America Biennial  Owensboro KY  Purchase Award  1988

                Tennessee Polytechnical Exhibition  2nd Place 1985

                Tennessee Polytechnical Exhibition  1st  Place  1986

Symposiums & Workshops

                  Juror All Kentucky Exhibition  Bowling Green Ky  2008

                  Panelist:Art, Symmetry, & Perception  Frist Center for the Arts Nashville TN 2002

                  Vanderbilt Alumni Dali lecture continuing education. Philadelphia Art Museum 2005

                  Cumberland Gallery Summer Lecture Series  1999

                  Lecture and Juror Vanderbilt University Hamblet Award Study Abroad  1997

                  Lecture Marietta College,  OH  1995

                  Lecture Series Direct Encounters-W. Michigan University  1993

                  Fine Arts Networking Session  Ohio University  1991

                  Juror Mercersburg Academy  PA 1991

                  Lecturer Huntington Museum of Art Regional  Annual Docent Symposium 1991                                         

                  Juror Star Bank 4th High School Competition Portsmouth OH 1990

                  Juror  Undergrad Exhibit OH University Branch Lancaster OH 1990

                  Juror 23rd Annual Arts Festival McConnellsville OH  1990

 One Person Shows

                Hidell Brooks Gallery Charlotte Fall NC 2018

                Moremen Moloney Gallery  Louisville KY  2017

                 Cumberland Gallery Nashville TN  2012, 2010, 2005,1999, 1996, 1993, 1991

                 Volunteer State Community College  Gallatin TN  2003

                 Gallery Vl,  Columbus, OH  1996, 1998

                 Marietta College  Marietta, OH  1995

                 Western Michigan University  Kalamazoo, MI  1993

                 Contemporary Art Workshop  Chicago IL  1993

                 Hoyt Institute of Fine Art  New Castle  PA  1991

                 Gallery 200  Columbus OH  1991

                 The Mercersburg Academy  PA  1991

                 Acme Art Company  Columbus Ohio  1990

                 Trumbull Art Gallery  Warren  OH  1990

                 Sandford Gallery  Clarion University  PA  1990

                 Middle Tennessee State University (drawing) 1986  (painting) 1987

Selected Group Exhibitions

Altered Reality, Cumberland Gallery, Nashville, TN

                  20th Anniversary Exhibiyion Hidell Brooks Gallery Charlotte NC

                  15th Anniversary Exhibition  Hidell Brooks Gallery  Charlotte, NC 2013

                  LA Art Show via  Cumberland Gallery 2013 2014

                  Tinney Contemporary Invitatiional  Nashville, Tn  2012

                  American Juried Art Salon  2012

                  7TH Biennial National Art Exhibition Punta Gorda, FL 2010

                  Cumberland Gallery “FOOD” theme exhibition. Tn 2010

                  All American Juried Art Salon  Texas   2009

                  Acanthus Invitational  Sonoma CA  2009

                  Cumberland Gallery “Green Show” 2009

                  New Works/Nine States Art St.Louis 2006

                  DIVERSE VISIONS Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Faculty 1999, 2002, 2005

                  Artscapes Museum Show & Auction Knoxville TN 2004

                  AAF Contemporary Art Fair New York  2004

                  Tennessee State Museum Traveling Exhibition 2004

                   National American Landscape and Still Life  National Competition  Hays KS 2003

                   Oil & Acrylic Painters Society  National  Competition  Lake Ozark  MO 2003

                   Riffe Gallery, Ohio Arts Commission,  Columbus, OH Summer 1998

                   Back To Reality Southern OH Museum Portsmouth, OH  1997

                   Arts and Antiques  Cumberland Gallery Nashville, TN 1997

                   Small Works Invitational Cumberland Gallery Nashville, TN 1995,-2003

                   Spectrum Hunter Museum of Art Chattanooga TN 1996, 1997, 1998

                   41st Annual  Durham NC Art Exhibition  1995

                   4th Annual Jack Lunt Memorial Invitational  1995

                   Art Fair International  Seattle  1994,1995, 1996, 1997

                   Inside/Outside  Cumberland Gallery  Nashville,  TN 1994

                   People’s Bank Collection Annual Invitational  Marietta OH  1994

                   Brenau College National Invitational  Gainesville, GA  1994

                   Three River’s Art Festival  Pittsburg  PA  1994

                   Keny Gallery  Columbus OH 1994

                   Art Chicago-The New Pier Show 1993

                   Corporate Environments of Ohio, Columbus, OH 1993

                   INTERIORS  Sandy Carson Gallery  Denver, CO  1993

                   Sight and Insight:Southern Ohio Museum  1993

                   Spirit Echoes Gallery  Austin TX 1992, 1993

                   Native To Neon  Exposition  Philadelphia  1992

                   Images ‘92  HUB Gallery  Penn St  PA 1992

                   Confluence:20th Annual Painting Show TX  1992

                    24th Washington & Jefferson Painting Show  PA  1992

                    17th National Painting/Drawing Show  Hays University  KS  1992

                    Brenau College National Invitational  Gainesville  GA 1992

                    Works On Walls:Huntington Museum of Art  WV  1991

                    S P A C E S   Gallery  Cleveland  OH 1991

                    Edinboro University of Pennsylvania  1991

                    Beyond Realism  Cumberland Gallery  Nashville TN  1991

                    Dimensions ‘91  Winston-Salem  NC  1991

                    Hunter Museum of Art  “Spectrum” fundraiser Chattanooga TN  1991-2003

                    Governor’s Residence Art Collection  Columbus OH  1990

                    Gallery Artist’s New Work  Gallery 200  Columbus OH 1990 -1991

                    Sandford Gallery  Clarion University  PA  1990

                   Exhibition 280 Huntington Museum of Art  WV  1990

                    53rd National Mid-Year  The Butler Institute  OH  1989

                    Allied Artist’s 75th Exhibition  New York  NY 1988

                    Shanghai Exchange  University of Shanghai  China 1988

                    Summer Gallery Artist’s Show  Cumberland Gallery Nashville TN ‘88-‘99

                    Mid-America Biennial  Owensboro KY  1988

                    34th Annual Small Drawing/Sculpture Ball State  Muncie IN 1988

                    Three Rivers Arts Festival  Pittsburgh PA  1988

                    Galex 22nd National Exhibition  Galesburg  IL  1988 

Selected Public Collections

                   Music City Center  Nashville, TN

                   OMNI Hotel  Nashville Tn

                   Gaylord Palms Hotel  Orlando, FL

                    National  Endowment for the Arts  (loan 1998-2010) Washington DC

                    Fidelity Investments, Boston, MA

                    Tennessee State Museum

                    Vanderbilt University Medical Library Collection TN

                    Opryland Hotel  Nashville TN

                    South Central Bell, Nashville TN

                     Kaiser Permanente, Denver  CO

                     Champions Development Group, Westerville OH

                     Franklin University, Columbus  OH

                     Boult-Cummins Law Firm, Nashville TN

                     Peoples Bank Collection  Marietta OH

                     Huntington Bank   Columbus OH

                     Dollar General Stores Corporation

                     Automatic Data Processing Company  Chicago IL

                     Pinkerton Tobacco Company  Owensboro  KY

                     Springs Mills Collection  Lancaster SC

                     Tennessee Valley Authority  Knoxville TN

                     Yellow Freight System Inc  Overland Park  KS

                     Greenville County Museum of Art  SC

                     Clarion University  Clarion PA

                     Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts  New Castle PA

                     American Plastics  Columbus OH

                     Metro Health System  Cleveland OH

                     Kaiser Corporation  Cleveland OH

                     First Tennessee Bank  Nashville TN

 Publications & Reviews

                     THE ART OF COMMUNITY  Book; Tennessee Collection of Janet & Jim Ayers

                     THE NASHVILLE SCENE  2012  Critics Pick

                     VANDERBILT FACULTY WEB PAGE 2000-2012

                      THE VANDERBILT REVIEW Volume XVI  2000

                      VANDERBILT FACULTY WEB PAGE  2000-2010

                      The Distillery:Motlow St College Creative Arts Journal 2000

                      ART.NET CUMBERLAND GALLERY WEB PAGE  2000-2009

                      IN REVIEW: Nashville weekly.  Honorable mention Best Two Person Show of ‘99

                      NASHVILLE SCENE:Art Revue 1999

                      OBERLIN  COLLEGE PRESS  Cover “Vanitas Motel” Poems by Jon Loomis 1997

                      OPEN STUDIO PRESS-NEW AMERICAN PAINTING 1995,1997

                       ART IN AMERICA INDEX 92/93  94/95  96/97 98/99  2000/01 02/03  04/05  06/07

                       SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR CATALOG 1994/95/96/97

                       ARTIST’S  MAGAZINE  May  1994

                       WESTERN HERALD,  MI 1994

                       CHICAGO TRIBUNE, IL  1993

                       NASHVILLE BANNER WEEKENDER-(cover) ‘93

                       NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN Review 1999

                       THE PLAIN DEALER  OH  1991

                       COLUMBUS DISPATCH  OH ‘90-’91-‘96-‘98

                       CLARION-LIFESTYLES PA  1990

                       NEW CASTLE NEWS-PA  1991

                       DIALOGUE-Arts in the Mid-West Summer Issue (cover) 1991