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Artists bring nature life to Elzay Gallery of Art exhibition

"The All Weather Gang" is on display in the Elzay Gallery of Art until October 5. The gallery is free and open to the public daily from 1-4:30 p.m. (Northern Review photo/Kasy Long)

As an art form with its roots in France deep in the mid-19th century, plein air allows an artist to mix colors to represent natural lighting and atmosphere in an outdoor scene – with the hope the viewer believes it is a photograph rather than an interpretation of a natural image. Ohio Northern University’s Department of Art & Design offers its own take on the art style in its current Elzay Gallery of Art exhibition, “The All Weather Gang.” The exhibition is free and open to the public daily from 1-4:30 p.m. until October 5.

The collection contains 56 pieces selected from a plein air painting workshop located in western New York, including the works of Steve BonDurant, Al Brewen, Donald Cooney, Kevin Feary, Don Grieger, John Hodgins, David Huebsch, Gilbert Jordan, Bob Keim and Mike Killelea. Each artist shares an interest in showcasing nature and atmosphere; the only difference is their approach to the craft of painting.

The artists present a mission statement: “Paint the scenes that everyone looks at, but no one sees.” This statement is left open for interpretation, and as gallery visitors observe the paintings, they are free to arrive at their own conclusion on the artists’ inspiration for the artwork.

Nature paintings display scenes in which viewers frequently see in their surroundings, though they may never take notice of the beauty before them. The mid-19th century art style continues to be relevant to contemporary cultural with the impending technological advancements. Sometimes it takes a little bit of convincing and pressure for people to stop, pause in their footing and gaze.

Plein air artists capture the visual elements presented in nature and articulate the images for new viewers, hoping to spark an interest. Many of the paintings showcased in Ohio Northern’s gallery exhibition feature farm landscapes filled with barns, fields, meadows, woods and creeks. Each artist has artworks scattered throughout the exhibit, creating an aesthetic setting in the Elzay Gallery of Art. 


EDIT: Corrected spelling error

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