By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Not surprisingly, the work of John Mellencamp the visual artist carries the same weight and power as that of John Mellencamp the musician.
The rock’n’roll hall-of-famer has a body of songs that go headfirst at social issues and delve into the struggles of everyday people.
His paintings, if anything, are even more imposing.
Mahoning Valley residents can be among the first to get a close-up look at this other facet of Mellencamp’s talent. The first art-museum exhibition of the Indiana native’s work opens Sunday at the Butler Institute of American Art’s Howland Branch. It will run through Jan. 12.
The 40 or so oil paintings in the exhibition reflect Mellencamp’s affinity for the German Expressionist school of art.
German Expressionism rose in the period just before World War I. Its practitioners used bold compositions, often with undiluted colors and a heavy use of black for emphasis. The artworks had a narrative immersed in