When you look out your window, or let your eye wander while you’re on a walk, do you see all of the turmoil of your daily life? Didn’t think so. The new exhibit at the Riffe Gallery creates that atmosphere of serenity with paintings from the Ohio Plein Air Society.
“The landscape of Ohio is vast,” says Curator Jane Black, Executive Director of the Dayton Visual Arts Center, “To the casual traveler, it may seem empty…but a painter, it is teeming with possibility.” Showcasing the work of over 16 Ohio artists, paintings reflect the variations in our landscape, from lakes to dense forests to rolling hills. It is this landscape that inspired both the curator and the artists.
En Plein Air
“En Plein Air” is a French expression which now refers to the act of painting outside. Popularized by the Impressionists, it is a practice which seems to be as much about the process as the final product by engaging in one’s surroundings and letting the mood the landscape inspires come through in the finished painting. Rarely are there emotional, social, or political concerns addressed in Plein Air paintings due to the subject matter. Jane Black says that aspect helps us consider the “long view”, the ever-present but ever-changing landscape is about a “moment being captured.”
A Society of Painters
Jane Black also comments on the similarities that can help us focus on individuality. “One of the things that is interesting about this type of show is that all the work is a similar style, and medium…you’re limiting certain factors. Essentially…many of these people paint together, they’re a society, a group! So you will see scenes repeated in the exhibition. [But] what you will be able to see is how each artist expresses something in a different way.”
Black says that this exhibition celebrates our commonalities as residents of Ohio and shows how our different expressions of perspective bring us closer as a community.
Natural Light: Paintings by the Ohio Plein Air Society will be on view at the Riffe Gallery through October 16th, 2011. The Riffe Gallery is located in the Vern Riffe Center, and open Tuesday 10 – 4 p.m., Wednesday and Friday 10 – 5:30 p.m., Thursday 10 – 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon – 4 p.m.