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Riverside CA – The Riverside Art Museum presents The Riverside Legacy: California Plein Air Paintings Past and Present, running from December 21 – March 30, 2014, with a free Winter Exhibit Celebration on Thursday, February 6, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., during the Riverside Arts Walk.

The Riverside Legacy: California Plein Air Paintings Past and Present is comprised of a select grouping of plein air paintings and drawings from the Riverside Art Museum’s permanent collection. Featuring works completed by artists as early as the 1930s, this exhibition looks back at the history of plein air in Riverside and its local environs as this outdoor movement spread throughout the state of California in the late nineteenth century.  A choice selection of artwork by contemporary plein air artists will also be included, proving the steadfast popularity of California Impressionism even today. As we look to both past and present works of the Riverside area, this exhibition celebrates the modern development of plein air artists over time, revealing their growth and impact on the Riverside community as a whole.

“The number of contemporary plein air art groups established throughout the state of California is a true testament to this thriving movement,” says Guest Curator Devi Noor. “The purpose of this exhibition not only evidences this, but also reflects the Riverside area’s evolving landscape into a growing urban community.”

The Riverside Art Museum is proud to be able to showcase this subset of its collection as part of an ongoing effort to have a part of the collection on view for the public at all times.

Plein air, translating to “open air” in French, refers to a genre of landscape painting that is done, exclusively or primarily, outdoors and on site. In mid-19th century France, this mode of art making originally became popularized with the advent of the Impressionist movement, greatly influenced by the slightly older artists of the Barbizon School. The Impressionist movement produced such artists as Claude Monet, Edgar Dégas, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-August Renoir. As time progressed, Impressionist movements gained momentum in Russia and the United States as well. The Impressionist movement sought to replicate the illusory effects of light, color, and atmosphere, and proceeded to inform the Fauvist movement. There remains a strong demographic of artists working in the mode of plein air today, particularly throughout California.
“Continuing the tradition, or the legacy, left to us by the Impressionists of their day is of paramount importance to Plein Air Artists of Riverside, because this form of painting is so very special,” says Plein Air Artists of Riverside (PAAR) President Luz Maria Perez. “It is this special way of how we see the light, atmosphere, colors, and then interpret with paint that is fueling the plein air movement.”

Guest Curator Devi Noor is the curatorial assistant in the American Art department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). During her eight-year tenure there, she has assisted in exhibitions and installations focusing on a number of subjects, including: Surrealism, American genre painting, landscapes, and several other topics.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Classical Archaeology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is a contributor to LACMA’s blog, Unframed.

In conjunction with the exhibition, RAM will offer a Saturday art workshop for youth, “Landscapes: Fantasy vs. Reality.” For more information on the exhibition, Winter Exhibit Celebration, classes, and membership to RAM’s PAAR group, visit www.riversideartmuseum.org.

RAM relies on the generosity of members and donors to support its exhibitions, education programs, and special events. A 60-plus-year-old, private, non-profit cultural arts institution housed in a National Historic 1929 building designed by Hearst Castle and AIA Gold Medal-winning architect Julia Morgan, the museum welcomes over 50,000 visitors a year. The museum is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, 12:00 noon – 4:00 p.m. For information on exhibits, events, classes, memberships, or sponsorship opportunities, visitwww.RiversideArtMuseum.org. Find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/riversideartmuseum) and Twitter (RAMRiverside).

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