Another MAS Joint

Okay, to describe the Open Air Painting exhibit in Spike Lee terms is a little ridiculous, but there is a lot going on at the Museum of Arts and Sciences. Not only did I enjoy myself at The Art of Macon Comics, but I also showed up in time for Plein Air – the Open Air Painting exhibit by Maddine Insalaco and Joe Vinson. I first heard about it from Eric O’Dell, who met the couple in Italy the past summer. Not only did they give him a primer on what they do, but they also took him on a culinary tour of the Tuscany region. They sound like my kind of people.

In a couple of months, I’ll be heading to Italy myself so I thought I would check out their lecture, see where all they went, things like that. It was very compelling. I am not an art student, but I found myself captivated with what they called the “timelessness” of open air painting. There was little difference between the work done by Maddine and Joe and those done by famous Italian open air painters like Valenciennes and Corot, because they had to work under the same time constraints and working space as those guys did. In a way, the length of time, 2 hours tops and 20 minutes at the least, and the visibility of the brush strokes in open air painting in a time when paintings were praised for the invisibility of the painter, could almost be scene as a precursor to impressionism. In truth, there is a bit of an impressionistic edge to the painter’s need to grasp the fleeting light of day in their work.

I was drawn to a lake in the crater of a volcano, one so still thanks to shielding in that crater, that it was called the mirror of Diana. The lake at Nemi. In pictures, it’s beautiful, the land around it, the castle above it, it’s fascinating. As I talked to Maddine after their lecture at Mercer University, she told me that Nemi was not very far from where we will be staying for the majority of our trip to Europe. All the more exciting.

She also gave me some eating tips for being there that I appreciate. She leads an epicurean tour in November, full of wines and truffles. I would love to be able to afford that.

But more than the possibility of food (and me almost eating something I’m allergic to on opening night) is the beauty of the paintings. Painting on paper, Maddine and Joe tried to emulate, not only in location, but also in craft, the exact movements of the masters. Their work is breathtaking. Even the frames were built by the two, of which Maddine seems very proud.

Go look at my beautiful lake near Nemi and the other open air work by Maddine Insalaco and Joe Vinson. You’ll be sorry if you don’t.

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