The latest exhibit from the artist has brought the eyes of everyone from Grand Rapids and back to Northern Michigan on him. His landscapes of the Leelanau countryside comprise For the Lands Sake, an exhibit that can be seen through August 1 at the Leelanau Historical Museum.
It takes a great artist to capture the power of a Leelanau landscape, says John Mitchell, director of the Leelanau Historical Society. We are honored this summer to exhibit work by such a painter... Durens paintings document the beauty of Leelanau today and leave for tomorrow a benchmark by which to measure our cumulative effects on the land.
As proof of Durens diligent nature, he is also having another showing of pleinair (taken directly from nature) paintings at the Tamarack Gallery in Omena called Leelanau Longviews. All of the paintings featured here were completed this year, on location, from late spring to early summer in Leelanau County.
Duren fell in love with nature at an early age when he lived on his grandfathers ranch in Northern California. My emotions would follow the passage of light across the valley as it moved into dusk, and I may have connected its bittersweet hue with the pain of loneliness, he says. The surrounding land became a kind of surrogate parent to me, always there. I suppose it followed that at age 15 I began to paint the landscape - the longview - and never stopped.
After being born and raised in California, Duren moved to West Michigan in 1978 to become a serious painter. He went full-time as an artist after he quit his job as an instructor at the Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. Jeffrey Meeuwsem, executive director of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, says, Stephens insightful paintings encourage us to pause long enough that we may experience the sublimity of nature.
A reception for Duren will be held at the Tamarack Gallery on Friday, July 23 from 4 - 7 p.m. Admission to the exhibit at the Leelanau Historical Museum is $2 for adults and $1 for students. Museum hours are 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.