- Roby King Gallery
- 176 Winslow Way E.
- Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 206-842-2063
- Wednesday – Saturday 12 – 5PM, Sunday 12 – 4PM
We need these images now.
Roby King Gallery is offering the work of two painters, Neal Philpott and Rod Weagant, both painting under the theory of documenting our natural surroundings. Both have long, successful careers, substantially in the Pacific Northwest, and both are no strangers to Bainbridge audiences. So, perhaps I need not say more. However, Bainbridge is always receiving new residents and is host to many visitors, and for these reasons I believe we really could use these images and their intent, now.
Neil Philpott is a regular, having exhibited his nature scenes more than a dozen times over Roby Kings Gallery’s 31-year-history. He offers us “ordinary” scenes that we may have passed by. Their richness comes in the composition, where a barn might peak up above a rolling hill, or an interesting stand of trees, a stream rushing by rocks, or a macro-environmental image of blades of grass.
Philpott sees them as interesting patterns and nuanced colors translated with his oil paint and careful brush strokes. His interpretation is influenced by his regular activities as a musician, runner and hiker. He finds great joy in the ordinary, capturing transitory scenes that are actually extraordinary.
Philpott has a deeper purpose to what he is doing. The capture of a brief moment, a glimpse, is both a memory as well as warning of what we all may lose. If that happens, the joyful memory will be too precious, too sad. Philpott has said he “paints places and scenes that may not exist in the future because of environmental changes….If I have a legacy, it’s to remind people what we have and to preserve what we have.” While Philpott has been documenting nature with this belief for some time, it has become all too real for him personally. He and his wife had to evacuate their home in Oregon in 2020 due to the out-of-control forest fires. Clearly these disastrous environmental changes are increasing at a most concerning pace.
Rod Weagant is also an oil painter who seeks to capture and document our environment. He has done plenty of plein air and studio painting and continues to teach it through workshops. He too offers sweeping vistas of mountains, forests and rivers that fill us with awe. He too wishes to memorialize our natural world.
As with all artists, his journey to and into painting is unique. He didn’t find his way to paint, and what it could do, until he had lived in Alaska, first working for the U.S. Army, and then working for the National Park Service. It was while working for the Park Service in 1973 that he happened to see an exhibition of paintings by Sydney Lawrence and Ted Lambert. He had an epiphany. He left Anchorage and the Park Service and went straight to art school. His time at University of Washington coincided with the visiting professorship of Jacob Lawrence, who became a mentor and advisor.
The passion he was advised to pursue was to depict the nature he had fallen in love with. He was able to follow his original intention after art school of returning to Haines, Alaska, where he spent a decade or so with his wife. Weagant, according to his artist statement, “found a balance between his formal academic training and the pure emotional response he feels when surrounded by Alaskan and Western U.S. landscapes.” They returned to Twisp, Washington, in 2011 where he continues to paint and exhibit his paintings.
Just as Ansel Adams famously used his spectacular documentary photographs to impress upon the U.S. Congress the need for environmental conservation and to expand the National Park System, so too do we need painted documentaries of our natural world from artists like Neal Philpott and Rod Weagant to remind us of what we have to lose.
Roby King Gallery
176 Winslow Way E.
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 206-842-2063
Wednesday – Saturday 12 – 5PM, Sunday 12 – 4PM
CLICK HERE TO READ OTHER FIRST FRIDAY FOCUS & EBB and FLOW ARTICLES BY BILL
ABOUT BILL BARAN-MICKLE: 2020 Island Treasure Awardee. Recently, Bill has enjoyed exhibiting in several international art biennial exhibitions. Of the three in which he has participated, he won Third Place for Sculpture from the European Confederation of Art Critics in the Chianciamo Biennale, at the Chianciano Art Museum in Italy in 2011, and First Place in Applied Arts in the London Biennale of 2013. In 2013 alone, he will have participated in eight exhibitions: from London to a two-person exhibition near home. In addition, Bill was asked to be a representative for CCAC’s exhibition celebrating 100 years of the Metals Department, and a mix of group shows in New York City, Miami, Seattle and Las Vegas. Bill is the designer of the 10 foot Equitorial Bowstring Sundial located at the Richie Observatory in Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island, WA and completed in 2015.