Joe Stewart Gallery: Eclectic Plein Air Art in O’Bryonville
by Jennifer Yeager
- These small Plein Air paintings add to any room décor
- The gallery is set up to create a warm, inviting atmosphere for the art lover.
- Exterior of Joe Stewart Gallery the evening after an opening reception
Perhaps you've already met Joe. He's lived in Hyde Park his whole life and is a well-respected local and regional builder. Doing business as Joe Stewart Builders, LLC (formerly Stewart and Jervis Builders, Inc.), Mr. Stewart has been in the building business since the ‘70s. His strengths, he said, are his ”background in historic architecture and design skills.” It's not so surprising then that Joe Stewart’s love of “building arts” also translates into his love of many other types of art.
Throughout his building career, Mr. Stewart has always maintained “a secondary studio” where he “gathered antiques and practiced furniture building.” He also loved drawing from the time he was a boy and took up oil painting 11 years ago. In 2016, he opened Joe Stewart Gallery, a quaint space in O’Bryonville where he operates his building business, represents artists and shows art as well as “a small collection of unique antiques.”
When you visit Joe Stewart Gallery, Mr. Stewart said you'll find a collection of “eclectic, representational art driven by the Plein Air movement.” For you hobbyists, sit up and take notice! According to Mr. Stewart and Plein Air magazine, Plein Air is “the new golf for retirees.”
So what is the Plein Air movement? Promoted in Plein Air magazine as “the cure for claustrophobia,” Plein Air painting is borrowed from the French phrase meaning “open (in full) air.” Plein Air painting, then, is the art of painting or drawing outdoors, typically landscapes or nature scenes.
Joe Stewart is an avid Plein Air painter who spends as much time as possible outdoors capturing scenes of nature. He often travels to paint and has participated in the Plein Air Invitational on several occasions. According to Mr. Stewart, this is an invitation-only event where skilled artists gather to paint scenes from such amazing landscapes as the Adirondack Mountains, northern Michigan, Hocking Hills and, most recently, Cape Ann in northeastern Massachusetts. Mr. Stewart has won several awards, including Best in Show in three different events.
In addition to Mr. Stewart’s own work, Joe Stewart Gallery also shows mainly Plein Air work from other artists including Ron Johnson, whose paintings Mr. Stewart describes as “representational, slightly impressionistic oil scenes from Maine.” Mr. Stewart’s wife, well known local artist Gilda Horn, also displays work in the gallery and is best recognized for her true-to-life portraiture and colorful landscapes. You'll also find work from Joseph Trippetti, an enamel artist in his 90s who resides in Oakley.
Joe Stewart Gallery also is known for some stunning exhibitions. In February 2017, for example, artists Joe Parrott and Trish Weeks were highlighted for their town and country scapes. And in April, Mr. Stewart plans a special exhibition of six Cincinnati illustrators. “Illustrators don't get their due,” said Mr. Stewart. He plans to use the April exhibition “as a platform for what is key about their work: Plein Air and illustration.” The artists you'll see in the exhibition are: C.F. Payne, John Maggard, Loren Long, Tom Post, David Michael Beck and Jim Effler.
Get to know Joe Stewart and Joe Stewart Gallery. There's much to see and learn from both the man and his art. You'll find Joe Stewart Gallery at 1985 Madison Road in O’Bryonville. Hours are M, W, F 11 – 5, Sat. 11 – 4 or by appointment, and on the web at www.joestewartgallery.com.