Show Preview | American Impressionist Society

Park City, UT
Montgomery-Lee Fine Art, September 28-October 29

Robert Spooner, The Mercantile, oil, 16 x 26.

Robert Spooner, The Mercantile, oil, 16 x 26.

This story was featured in the October 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  October 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

For many art lovers, the term “impressionism” likely evokes the light-dappled plein-air paintings of Claude Monet or the graceful dancers in Edgar Degas’ luminous pastel studies. But impressionistic painters themselves are keenly aware of how wide-ranging the style can be, and there’s perhaps no better testament to its diversity than the American Impressionist Society’s National Juried Exhibition. The 18th annual event opens with a reception and awards presentation at Montgomery-Lee Fine Art in Park City, UT, on Thursday, September 28, at 5 p.m.

Josh Clare, Debra Huse, Shelby Keefe, Derek Penix, Mary Qian, and Bob Rohm are among the 194 esteemed artists whose works appear in the show. Judge of awards Albert Handell and other AIS masters, officers, and founders also contribute works. Though the group was able to accept about 30 more entries this year because the venue is larger than last year’s, the show still represents a competitive selection chosen by a six-person jury from among 1,300 entries, notes AIS vice president Cheryl St. John.

The exhibition reveals a breadth of styles, genres, and media, and that’s part of the group’s intent, says St. John. Impressionism is ultimately about following one’s instincts, she explains. “When I think of impressionism, I think of first impressions—to see something and respond to it without overthinking it, to go with the light and shadow and all the colors you see in a scene.”

Similarly, painter Darcie Peet of Tucson, AZ, describes impressionism as “translating a setting into shimmering light, mood, and color, yet still retaining a strong sense of place.” A winter hike and drive through the Sonoran Desert’s Ironwood Forest National Monument inspired her oil SUNDOWN LAVENDER, in which she captures the monument’s dusky purples and cool blues and greens in the soothing twilight. Peet’s love for exploring wilderness areas is at the heart of all her work. “From these wild places, I’m more influenced by—and strive to convey—their sense of power, awe, time, and humbling presence,” she says.

Whether he’s painting in a realistic or more nonobjective style, Williamston, MI, artist Mark Mehaffey says his work always boils down to his impressions of a place and the light conditions there. “It’s my impression and also an expression of my internal reality,” he explains. “It’s always redesigned, even if it’s based on a photograph.” Mehaffey’s watercolor NARROW PASSAGES 2—the first entry he’s ever submitted to an AIS exhibition—highlights his visit to Naples during a painting workshop he taught in southern Italy. “I did more paintings during my three days in Naples than I did during the week we spent on the Amalfi Coast,” he says. “I was so thrilled by the city’s narrow alleys with the hanging laundry, the electrical wires, the relationships of the lights against the darks, and the big shapes against the small shapes. Now I’m on the lookout for narrow spaces wherever I go.”

Southwest Art sponsors a paint-out for AIS members on Saturday, September 30, and works are on view that afternoon on a “wet wall” in the gallery. —Kim Agricola

contact information
402.592.3399
www.americanimpressionistsociety.org

This story was featured in the October 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  October 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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