Responding to the Landscape by Jim McVicker
"Responding to the Landscape," an exhibition of paintings and watercolors by Jim McVicker, will show at the Humboldt State First Street Gallery April 1 through May 18.
The paintings are part of the gallery's ongoing "Art and Environment" series, an exploration of how artists' interpretations of environmental issues influence society's perceptions of nature and science. A public reception for the artist will be held during Eureka Main Street's Arts Alive! on April 5 from 6 to 9 p.m.
McVicker's paintings aim to illuminate the splendor of pristine landscapes. "We are losing so much of this planet every day that we, as individuals, need to reevaluate our priorities, make changes and once again hold up beauty as a great ideal," he said.
As a young man, McVicker was "jolted to life by looking at landscape paintings." He made his living in Southern California by painting houses during the day and canvases at night. Within three years he committed himself full-time to the canvas. Since then, he has found inspiration in the diversity and beauty of Northern California.
For McVicker's plein air (painted outdoors) landscapes, he works on five to six canvases at once, keeping a careful eye on the sun's position.
"Years ago, I would work three and four hours on a landscape, but I've become so sensitive to the changing light that an hour and half is my limit now. This may mean working on a painting for as many as 25 sessions, returning to the same site, but the end result is worth the effort and patience. When the painting conveys the emotion and essence of that first hand experience, then it is complete," he said.
In his work, McVicker seeks to express the "elusive spiritual energy, the mystery of nature and life, [and] the unknown."
A Humboldt County resident for 27 years, McVicker is an accomplished artist. He is represented by the Hackett-Freedman Gallery in San Francisco and has exhibited nationwide. His portfolio includes still life, portraiture and landscape paintings.
The exhibition is produced and curated by the students in the Museum and Gallery Practices Program at Humboldt State.
The gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It is located at 422 First Street, Eureka. Admission is free. School groups are encouraged to call ahead for tours. For more information, call 443-6363.