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Artist’s use of light is both old and new

February 7th, 2022

Painting by Ernest Vincent Wood III

Last chance to see Ernest Vincent Wood III’s exhibit of oils, “Do Not Despise the Day of Small Things,” in the Regier Art Gallery – and plan to attend the artist reception this evening between 6 and 8 p.m.

Wood’s “sensitive use of light and realism” bring to 2022 the 17th-century technique of the Roman Caravaggisti and still-life artists of the Dutch Baroque – “with a contemporary twist of innuendo that makes an Old-World technique relevant,” according to the artist’s website.

“Do Not Despise the Day of Small Things” is in the Bethel gallery through Feb. 24, which is also the date of the artist reception, from 6-8 p.m. at the gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center.

“I’ve always been taken with light and achieving its subtleties in my work,” Wood says.

“Light began as a fixation, something I sought to master in an effort to create space and atmosphere. Later, the existence and the absence of light became a device to create formal compositions drawn from public places I frequented.

His exhibit in the Regier Gallery comprises several dozen oil paintings, most of them 1-inch, 2-inch or 4-inch.

“‘Do Not Despise the Day of Small Things’ looks at the process of routine, consistent diligence from the monumental to the minute,” Wood says in his exhibit statement.

“The same mundane subjects are explored, the same paint applied and the same techniques deployed regardless of scale. Each object painted seeks to hold its significance among the others.”

The Wichita-based Wood has a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in painting, with a minor in art history, from Wichita State University.

After completing his degree in 2006, Wood studied at the International School for Drawing, Painting and Sculpture in Umbria, Italy, with sponsorship from the Koch Cultural Trust.

He has exhibited three times in Killarney, Ireland, and more recently at the Evansville (Ind.) Museum, where he staged the show “Gravity.”

“Gravity” featured a painting in which Wood rendered the god Bacchus as female. The Bacchae is now part of the Evansville Museum’s permanent collection and will be displayed in a two-year show that focuses on women in art.

Wood’s painting More than Material won 2nd place in the Portrait Society of America’s 2020-21 International Portrait Competition, and earned Best of Show in the MarkArts “Mark 100 Regional Exhibition” in 2020 and Honorable Mention in the 15th International ARC Salon, just ended.

His self-portrait, Vulnerability, appeared on the cover of the Feb. 2021 issue of Fine Art Connoisseur.

The public is invited to Wood’s Feb. 24 reception. Current Bethel COVID protocols require physical distancing and mask-wearing indoors regardless of vaccination status.

Regular Regier Gallery hours are Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #15 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #31 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest, both for 2021-22. Bethel was the only Kansas college or university selected for the American Association of College & Universities’ 2021 Institute on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, and has been named a TRHT Campus Center. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.