This spring Arts Benicia is proud to present Go Figure, an exhibition of figures and man-made objects in plein air painting. Guest curator Nikki Basch-Davis includes her artworks as well as those of Linda Christiensen, Lyn Fisher, Pam Glover, Dana Hooper, Ray Jackson, Judy Molyneux, William Rushton, Randall Sexton, and Jerrold Turner. Also featured are works from the collections of Dennis Hare, Terry St. John, Lundy Siegriest, and Paul Stempen. The exhibition will be on view at the Arts Benicia Gallery from March 11 to April 11, with a free public reception from 6:00pm to 9:00pm on Saturday, March 13.
Plein Air is a French expression meaning “open air” and in the art world describes the act of painting outdoors. During the mid 19th century, both the Barbizon School movement towards realism and the Impressionism movement were promoting the importance of natural light. At the same time the new availability of paints in tubes and the invention of a new highly portable easel popularized the Plein Air technique.
“Being a Plein Air painter has its difficulties,” says Basch-Davis, “the changing light, the sudden wind, and the scorching sun. But overcoming these obstacles benefits the painting and provides a profound sense of satisfaction. People inevitably are drawn to the paintings because they connect with the outdoors.”
The exciting element for Basch-Davis was in bringing together these 14 artists, each with a different way of expressing what they see. Each could be looking at the same subject but would come up with a different interpretation. Some artists are fascinated by urban scenes where human presence is apparent, and some enjoy interpreting nature in their own unique way. Go Figure will include all the elements of Plein Air painting.
Several artists are being shown. Glover and Turner are themselves instructors, while others (Siegriest and Stempen) have had their influence and inspiration woven through the artworks of many artists in our community. All Plein Air artists share their creative processes with us, from little toddlers peering wide-eyed onto the canvas to skate boarding youths remarking how cool the painting is progressing. Older folks share their nostalgia for the scene and discuss the prospect of pursuing their creative urge. For Basch-Davis, the canvas is a bridge connecting all ages, sexes and races. Go Figure will provide a new opportunity for us all to once again view these artist interpretations of a place and time.
Arts Benicia Gallery is located at 991 Tyler Street, #114 in Benicia’s Arsenal district. Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, noon to 5pm, or by arrangement via firstname.lastname@example.org, 707.747.0131 or www.artsbenicia.org.