The plein air style of painting derives from the French expression en plein air, meaning "in the open air." Artists have painted outdoors for a long, long time, but the method took on particular importance to the Impressionists in the nineteenth century and it's still going strong in the early years of the 21st -- especially here locally, with our abundance of beautiful landscapes and rivers and painters talented enough to render them on canvas. It's the rivers specifically that Kodner Gallery (9650 Clayton Road, Ladue; 314-993-4477 or www.kodnergallery.com) celebrates in a new exhibit called Our Great Waterways: The Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers, with a free opening reception from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, July 8. The show features a Chinese plein air master, Yingxue Zuo, who now lives and teaches in St. Louis, along with the hand-selected work of other celebrated outdoor painters such as Billyo O'Donnell, Bryan Haynes, Joseph Orr, Catherine Mahoney and several more prominent figures in the plein air school. Our Great Waterways remains on display through Monday, August 1, and the gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday. Portions of the proceeds from the sale of the featured artworks will go to a vital advocate for local waterways, the St. Louis Confluence Riverkeeper organization.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: July 8. Continues through Aug. 1, 2011