Work from the second annual Scotchman Peak Wilderness Extreme Plein Air Event will be on display at the Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History, located at 415 Main St. in Lewiston, starting on Jan. 14.
An exhibition opening will be held at 6-8 p.m. on Jan. 14 and is free and open to the public. The Extreme Plein Air exhibit will be located in the Center’s Main Gallery and will feature the work of artists Aaron Johnson, Jared Shear, and David Herbold. Artist Tim Doebler will also have his work “The Past is Prologue” on display in Galleries II and III at the Center.
Johnson, Shear, and Herbold were part of a group that visited the 88,000-acre Scotchman Peaks wilderness, which is located just 40 miles south of the Canadian border. The Scotchman Peaks road less area spans the Idaho-Montana border and an educational film company from Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, Wildman Pictures, went there with a small group of painters to make a documentary about a five-day plein air adventure.>
Plein air painting is a style of landscape painting that uses the outdoors and natural light. The term comes from French painters in the 19th century who left their studios and roamed the countryside in search of natural light. En plein air is the French term for out of doors.
The work on display at the Center is from artists who were located miles from roads and trails when they created their work. They used pack horses to get to the area and these horses carried their supplies, food, sleeping bags, and other necessities to live five days in the wilderness.
The filmmakers spent 10 days in the Scotchman area and came away with two distinct films, one encompassing the preservation of the Scotchmans, and the other about the Extreme Plein Air, which was released last fall.
The Extreme Plein Air grew out of the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Annual “Paint The Scotchmans”, a more traditional plein air that began three years ago as part of a public awareness campaign, bringing artists from around the Northwest together to paint the wilderness from the edges. Shear and Johnson wanted to take it one step further and paint inside the wild.
Johnson, who is pursuing his MFA at the University of Idaho, received his BFA in painting at Pacific Northwest College of Art. Johnson enjoys en Plein air painting but also does some larger work. Some of the proceeds from the sale of the paintings go to the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness’ preservation efforts.
“Jared and I talked about how we would like to do some painting in the peaks rather than just look at the foothills,” Johnson said.
Shear is a native of Montana, and a 1997 graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle. His work has been exhibited in a variety of galleries throughout the Northwest. Currently he resides in Thompson Falls, Mont., with his wife and children. He can often be found exploring the back country, and capturing the world around him through his art.
“I have always had an immense respect and fascination for the unlimited variety, and design that we find in nature,” Shear said. “Through my art I endeavor to capture, if only dim and pale by comparison, some of that life…..or majesty of creation. It is my hope that you as a viewer might come away with a bit of the same fascination and sense of awe that I share.”
Herbold, a graduate of Montana State University and a MFA candidate at the University of Idaho, teaches sculpture and works as a designer and installation artist. Herbold’s work reflects his passion for construction and reinvention of disparate found materials and he primarily works with wood and plaster. Herbold’s installation “a community of mountains” is an assemblage of altered furniture, and a canvas tent with lights and a TV with a DVD loop playing, depicting the journey during the En Plein Air paint out.
Doebler was born in Dayton, Ohio. After a stint in the army, Doebler attended The Dayton Art Institute, where he developed a love for sculpture. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Ohio University in 1979 and moved to Washington in 1980. Doebler earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington State University in 1984. He is currently working as an Engineering Technician in the Fine Arts Department at WSU. Tim lives in Palouse, Wash., and among his many interests outside of sculpture are hiking and photography.
Doebler’s installation that will be on display at the Center, called “The Past is Prologue”, represents artworks that span a period from 1984 to the present.
“While many materials and techniques are employed and a variety of thoughts and ideas are explored, a common thread binds these works together,” Doebler said of his work. “The shapes and underlying feelings reveal a single individual created this body of artwork. In this show I celebrate that common thread.”
The exhibition is brought to the community through sponsorships from Dr. Richard & Jenny Weiland, Dr. Don & Elizabeth Greggain, the LCSC Humanities Division and a grant from US Bancorp. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
For more information on the exhibits, visit www.lcsc.edu/museum or call (208) 792-2243.