Young artists from the San Ramon Valley to present their work in “Impressions of Light” | New

More than a century after the rise of the French Impressionists, local residents will receive a crash course in the legacy of this movement and its relevance today, at an upcoming art exhibition in Danville.

The Village Theater and Art Gallery will host “Impressions of Light”, an exhibition designed to showcase the work of young artists who learned the history and techniques of Impressionism at colleges in the San Ramon Valley.

The exhibit will feature works by students from Charlotte Wood, Diablo Vista, Iron Horse, Los Cerros, Pine Valley, Stone Valley, and Windemere Ranch. Charlotte Wood’s teacher Gary Leveque and Pine Valley teacher Tricia Grame, both prolific artists themselves, curate and organize the exhibit.

“Initially, the artistic community didn’t know what to do with it,” said Leveque of the early French Impressionists. “No one has seen anything like it before, and you’re trying to get the concept across to the students.”

This is one of the many things that could resonate with the college’s art students, who prepared works for the exhibition under Leveque’s supervision. While the early teens can be a lonely and alienating time at the best of times, the pandemic – and the way kids can feel like no one knows what to do with them lately – has made education artistic all the more important, according to Lévèque.

“If there had ever been a time for art and expression, to hear the voice of students… They struggle in so many different ways, but in art they can not only be successful, they can feel empowered, ”said Leveque.

Leveque highlighted the way Impressionism made use of light and how Impressionist artists are known to track movement and play of light over time throughout the day, as being particularly important for students in the present moment, learning to express oneself as time. walking forward.

Grame agreed that learning to see light through the eyes of Impressionist artists was a critical experience for students.

“They’re going to look at the subject differently,” Grame said. “I tell them that when you learn the value of capturing light and shadow, you will never look at anything the same again… someone’s face, the way the highlights come in, it changes your visceral experience. , your vision, and all the dancing. You get the 3-D, you get the color, you get the movement.

Another element of teaching students to put themselves in influential artists’ shoes, according to Grame and Leveque, is to insist that they learn about the biographies and stories of these artists and how their perspectives have influenced their work.

“Every artist’s work is almost autobiographical; it’s the time, the story, it’s what they had to say,” Grame said.

For the young artists in her class, Grame said that nature is central to what they have to say at that time and in history, as well as the development of their own voices.

“I think they feel the beauty of nature,” Grame said. “I think they realize that they don’t need to paint something just because someone is going to think it’s the most important picture.”

Grame and Leveque both emphasized that their work in education goes both ways: they learn and be inspired by young artists in their class, in the same way they are by artists canonized throughout history.

“I don’t think you can stress enough that teachers who are open to learning – this is the best kind of teaching,” Leveque said.

Both teachers are working artists who have collaborated on exhibitions in the past and see their work at the heart of the message they want to convey to students. Additionally, both recognize how valuable having an audience and audience input can be for artists.

“Seeing the power of their artwork and how people react to it – it puts them in the public eye, and then it opens up to what it’s like to keep working with art, what it is that self-assess, how do you take public opinion… you have this wide range of reception, ”said Leveque.

Additionally, the two hope the exhibit will help raise awareness of the value of the arts in local schools, something that can be overlooked by students and parents who focus solely on academic success.

“We know that if you don’t put it on the public front, they won’t care about the arts,” Grame said.

This makes empowering young artists all the more important and satisfying, according to Leveque, in a way that might not be the same for teachers of all subjects.

“My students feel like they can make a difference in this world through their art, and what better than that,” said Leveque.

“Impressions of Light” will take place from November 6 to December 17 at the Village Theater in Danville, with an opening reception on November 6 from 4 pm to 6 pm. Refreshments will be served on the theater terrace, although no food or drink is allowed inside, and masks are mandatory. More information is available here.

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