A unique exhibition of paintings entitled “Lee Wilder Snider: A Retrospective” is currently on display at Benicia Public Library’s Marilyn Citron O’Rourke Gallery

The exhibit features works by Benicia artist Lee Wilder Snider, who is renowned for her meditative landscape paintings as well as her commissioned murals. The featured paintings in the retrospective include several borrowed from collectors in the area and works from the artist’s own home.

“Haunting elegance of nature”

Wilder Snider has said that she takes her artistic inspiration from the “haunting elegance of nature,” with its unexpected play of light and form. “I find awe and wonder can be experienced in the complexity of something as simple as a stone or a moment’s view,” she explains. “I love to experience those moments when clouds, light, and landscape converge, causing me to stop and reflect on the beauty of our world.”  

Growing up outside of Washington D.C., Wilder Snider spent many hours at the National Gallery, where she was inspired to paint. She then ventured west and studied visual arts at the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a master’s degree from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a visual arts teaching certificate from Southern Utah State University.

The artist’s work has been shown in various Utah, Pacific Northwest, and California galleries, and her paintings are in private collections throughout the country. 

“My joy as a painter comes in opening others to the dance of line, shape, form, and color,” she explains. “My hope is to reveal the extraordinary in the ordinary and transport viewers to that still place inside us that is all too often lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life.”

Wilder Snider has received numerous public art commissions, through which she says, “I’ve learned that it is appropriate to draw and paint on walls.” Examples of her many murals reside at Rush Ranch near Suisun City and at Tolenas Elementary School in Fairfield. She created the iconic two-story-tall mural “The Faces of Fairfield” in downtown Fairfield, which was recently lost when the building was razed. She also worked for Michael Trahan Design, in the Arsenal, painting interior murals in model homes, including the Water’s End model homes in Benicia.  

Wilder Snider has served on the board of Arts Benicia and was a founding commissioner of the Benicia Arts and Culture Commission. In addition, she co-founded Gallery 621 in downtown Benicia. 

The retrospective exhibit at the Library was curated by Nikki Basch Davis. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to put together this show in her honor,” Basch Davis said. “Lee Wilder Snider has been one of Gallery 621’s prominent artists since its inception. In addition to being a gifted artist, she is a wonderful friend.”

“Lee Wilder Snider: A Retrospective,” which opened January 14th, continues on display through February 13th at the Marilyn Citron O’Rourke Art Gallery in the Benicia Public Library, located at 150 East L Street. Library hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 9 pm, and Friday through Sunday from 12 to 6 pm. For more information, visit www.benicialibrary.org/gallery or call 707.746.4343.