“Although young emerging artists are not rare in and of themselves, within the contemporary plein air community, we are not very common,” says Joanna Barnum, one of the artists participating in “Plein Air Painters Under 40,” a show on view now at Still Life Gallery of Fine Art & Framing in Ellicott City, Maryland. “Because of this, I think collectors are particularly intrigued by what we are doing.”
Barnum found a willing partner in Still Life Gallery, and the artists were easily lined up for the show that is on view for more than two more months. “It occurred to me that bringing together the other young plein air artists in our region would be an exciting concept for a show, and I was glad when Sara Arditti [owner of Still Life Gallery] was enthusiastic about hosting it,” says Barnum. “Alison Leigh Menke and I both had an existing relationship with the gallery, so it seemed like a great fit for the concept. I am thrilled that all of the artists I reached out to about participating in the show are as excited about it as I am, and I’m honored to be able to share walls with this group I so admire.”

“Looking South,” by Palden Hamilton

“When Joanna Barnum suggested the theme of plein air artists under 40, I immediately thought it was a fantastic idea,” says Arditti. “I’ve always been a big fan of plein air painting over the course of history, and we maintain a good selection at Still Life Gallery by Maryland artists. It is very important that younger people continue the tradition and challenge of plein air painting, which has such a long, rich history. It is wonderful that right now it is growing in popularity with both artists and audience, with a large number of competitions in this region.”

“Evening Light, Maryland Ave,” by Rick Casali

“Boardwalk Color,” by Alison Leigh Menke

The participating artists are Barnum, Rick Casali, Peter Emerson, Palden Hamilton, Courtney E. Lee, Menke, Vanessa Vizcarrondo Piche, and Alexander Wissel. More than 50 pieces are on display, all done on location.

“Looking for a Sign,” by Joanna Barnum

Says Menke, “I believe this show is a sneak peek into the world of plein air painting through the eyes of this next generation of artists. I’m honored to be a part of this and look forward to the opening reception.”


“Quiet Evening,” by Peter Emerson

“Tidal Morning,” by Vanessa Vizcarrondo Piche

The exhibition is on view through February 14. The gallery is hosting an artists’ reception on December 13. For more information, click here.

“Minty Fresh Morning,” by Courtney E. Lee

“I think all of the artists in this show have probably had the experience of participating in a plein air event and finding themselves the youngest person in the room, or one of only a couple of younger artists,” adds Barnum. “We are participating in keeping an important artistic tradition alive while bringing a fresh perspective to it.”



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