Scott Niemi, Painter | Elf
Scott Niemi quoted the words of Richard Nelson, cultural anthropologist and writer, in his latest exhibition and they might well explain the artist’s inspiration in one word: “There may be more to learn by climbing the same mountain a hundred times. than by climbing a hundred different mountains.
Her work, Niemi explains in her artist statement for her solo exhibition, “The Wonders Around Me,” on display until August 1 at the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester, Vermont, represents her continued interest in and pursuit of understanding the natural world that surrounds it. him.
While Niemi has been closely interested in the natural world since childhood, growing up on an 89-acre farm in Virginia, the Fitzwilliam resident has come to study art in a roundabout way.
When the Fitchburg, Massachusetts native moved to Florida in his early 20s with an associate’s degree in business administration under his belt, his grandmother gave him a set of acrylic paints.
“I adopted them immediately,” he said. “I did a painting that I thought was good enough at the time, submitted it to a local arts organization, and won an honorable mention. It rolled around from that point on and changed my life.
Once he started to improve as a painter and started exhibiting his work, he decided to find a way to make a living as an artist.
He returned to school to earn his Masters of Visual Arts with a concentration in painting at Florida Atlantic University and landed a teaching assistant position.
At that time, he was doing large-scale abstract and figurative, but he also appreciated the work of impressionist painters like Claude Monet and a great inspiration from him, Emile Gruppe.
“I was drawn to brushwork,” he says. “It’s not smooth and polished. I liked (its) suggestive properties.
After doing some research on Impressionist painting he took to painting landscapes and soon after started winning awards for his works.
He cites Jane Ericson, mother of singer and Lovin ‘Spoonful singer-songwriter John Sebastian, as another artist in Florida who was also an early supporter of his work.
Since then he has participated in numerous group and individual exhibitions at local and national levels; he has worked in hundreds of private collections, ranging from Beverly Hills to Australia; and his work has been exhibited in a wide range of galleries and museums. He is currently represented by two galleries in Massachusetts.
Since moving to Fitzwilliam in the early 2000s, he has added the Monadnock area as inspiration for his work, as have his travel adventures. He uses the digital photos he takes as a guide when he creates a painting in his home studio or his studio in Gardner, Massachusetts, where he also stores his work.
“It’s the experience of looking at a photo and the memories it triggers,” he explained, which helps him put the brush on the canvas.
Having the show at SVAC this month is like coming full circle for Niemi, who hosted one of his first solo shows there in 1994.
This show includes more recent landscapes, including a series he created depicting the stream running through his 11 acres of mostly wooded garden in “its many moods” ie seasonally and weather conditions. .
When the pandemic struck, Niemi, who had recently been professor of interactive media at Becker College in Worcester, Mass., Was unable to return to campus during the lockdown – the college has since closed permanently and Niemi begins a position this month at Clark University, also in Worcester, as professor of design and technology.
“I was a lot more at home and started investigating the creek,” he said of that time in 2020. “I never paid any attention and started to realize its beauty. I took pictures of her on gray days, in autumn, summer and winter.
He decided to paint the stream, and once he started he was happy with the progress of the work and said he was even happier with the end result. Each time he visited, he wrote in his statement, was unique since the last one.
He completed half a dozen versions of various sizes.
Visiting the stream regularly and capturing it in different states taught him a lot about his artistic approach.
“This flow has been the inspiration for a lot of work on the show,” he said.
Niemi’s show, “The Wonders Around Me”, will be presented as part of a series of solo exhibitions through August 1 at the Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester, Vermont. Niemi will be offering an artist talk on Sunday July 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the artistic center. For more information visit svac.org.