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En Plein Air

   For centuries, artists have been inspired by place. Monet found beauty in the water lilies of Giverny. Painters of the Hudson River School discovered pastoral peace in the valley's grand landscape. Contemporary photographer Alec Soth unearths American characters from Niagara Falls to Minnesota.

Chris Kling painting at the Mounts Botanical Garden. Photo by Ralph Papa

   The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County celebrates place and its influence on the artist with the exhibition "Art Outside the Walls: En Plein Air," on display through June 7. Thirty-seven artists stepped outside their studios and into 10 locations throughout Palm Beach County, resulting in nearly 140 works depicting the area's varied landscapes.

   The joys of this collection are bountiful. The exhibition is divided by locale, and it's a great challenge to try to guess the location by the images alone. I successfully identified downtown Lake Worth, Worth Avenue and the Society of the Four Arts, so three is the score to beat.

   Another joy lies in the myriad ways one location can be interpreted by many artists. Each artist finds his or her own point of interest in every setting, be it the hidden Edens of the Mounts Botanical Garden, the statues at the Four Arts or the merry-go-round at the Delray Beach Center for the Arts at Old School Square. On more than one occasion, an artist hard at work ends up in a colleague's piece. You can learn so much about an artist and his work by what he chooses to paint—especially when starting from one common subject matter. His final selection is like an invitation to the viewer to get to know him better.

   To get to know the artists on a personal level, you can attend artist lectures at the Cultural Council on Tuesday, April 29, and Tuesday, May 6. For more information on the exhibition, or to learn more about the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, visit palmbeachculture.com.

Manon Sander painting on Worth Avenue.

 


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