Galleries Visual Arts

En Plein Air Opens at Blue Spiral

Little Tennessee River. Chris Bell, artist

By Natasha Anderson

Blue Spiral 1 (BS1) presents En Plein Air, an exhibit titled after the French term meaning ‘out of doors’ and referring to the practice of painting from life, outside of the artist’s studio. The group show begins with an opening reception Friday, March 8, from 5–8 p.m. and runs through April 27. En Plein Air features landscapes finished entirely outdoors as well as paintings created from preparatory studies conducted outdoors.

“I believe that plein air painting offers opportunities for artists to channel their immediate response to a scene so that viewers can share in that experience,” says participating artist Chris Bell.

Though the practice of painting outdoors has existed for centuries, it was popularized by the French Impressionists in the mid-19th century when tube paints and box easels became available. Artists including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Vincent van Gogh took up the practice, which is still popular today.

“In a virtualized world, one could consider perceptual plein air painting to be an act of defiance,” says exhibiting artist Lilian Garcia-Roig. “I believe that the very act of making and viewing these paintings invites discourse on our own ability to have a meaningful, even sublime, experience with nature today.”

The exhibit also includes the work of Julyan Davis, Jonathan Hayes, Joy Moser, Peggy Root, Chad Smith, Deborah Squier and Peter Van Dyck. Blue Spiral 1 Gallery is located at 38 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, visit or call 828.251.0202.

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