(Above: Edge of the Woods, a painting by Cottage Grove artist Uyen-Thi Nguyen, is part of the plein air exhibit at the Maude Kerns Art Center.)

Edited by Randi Bjornstad

Two new weather-related art shows are up at the Maude Kerns Art Center now and will remain on display through March 25, 2022.

Sagebrush, by Springfield artist Charlene Eckman, is part of the Environs exhibit.

One is called Environs: A Plein Air Painters of Lane County Invitational, and is just that, a juried show that includes paintings by 25 artists who are members of that artists’ group. Works included in that exhibit were chosen by art center executive director Michael Fisher and exhibits coordinator and Sarah Ciampa.

Weather Permitting: Work by Laura Ahola-Young, an artist from Pocatello, Idaho, is the second display, and features her work that explores the understanding and appreciation of humans for plants and microscopic organisms such as algae, fungi, and microbes.

Ahola-Young has a master of fine arts in pictorial art from San Jose State University in California and teaches at Idaho State University. The role of microscopic life forms such as algae and their production of oxygen via photosynthesis is one of the fascinations that appears in her art.

“Through imagery, I am attempting to aesthetically suggest that our human endeavors (art, science) are in a continuous paradoxical and symbiotic quest for understanding the division, dualism, dichotomies, opposition, symmetry, and binaries that exist as part of our ecosystems and human lived experience,” she writes in her artist statement.

As a group of paintings created plein air — on location — the show entitled Environs, likewise, offers a message of celebrating the beauty of the natural environment while also emphasizing the need to preserve the natural world that is so severely challenged by global and local climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction.

Plein air painting originated with the French painters in the Impressionist period, as a challenge to create impressions of nature in real time as light, shadow, and color perpetually changed the landscape and the artistic vision.

Artists with work in the Environs show include: Dena Amend, Sarkis Antikajian, Victoria Biedron, Carolyn Bloom, Paul Bourgault, Katy Cauker, Bets Cole, Jean Denis, Charlene Eckman, Eleanor Phyllis Hamel, Kathy Heerema, Mary Henzie, Horst Hittenberger, Rosalie Beals Huntley, Tara Kemp, Patti McNutt, Uyen-Thi Nguyen, Kathy Paskey, Margaret Plumb, Sally Schwader, Mara Thygeson, Euphemia Wesley, Faye Wilkins, Robert Wilson, and Miyuki Yamazaki.

Maude Kerns Art Center presents Environs and Weather Permitting

When: Through March 25, 2022

Where: 1910 E. 15th Ave. (corner of 15th and Villard streets), Eugene

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; noon to 4 p.m. when exhibits are on display

Information: 541-345-1571 or online at mkartcenter.org


Laura Ahola-Young’s work explores the relationship between humans and the natural environment, seen and unseen.