At The Crary

Two art exhibits will open at the Crary Art Gallery this weekend, and both artists will attend the opening reception on Saturday.

Artist Jan Lutz will attend the opening reception of her exhibit “Interbeing,” and artist David Higgins will attend the opening of his exhibit “Nostalgia Revisited” on Saturday, Jan. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m.

“Interbeing” features watercolor paintings and drawings by the Cambridge Springs artist. “Nostalgia Revisited” features his classical oil paintings of contemporary decay and decline by the Corning, N.Y., painter and art professor.

“David Higgins and Jan Lutz are each consummate realists, but they take their art beyond simply capturing a photographic likeness. To coin a phrase, I would call them both philosophical realists, because, like a good deep question, their paintings lure you into layers of deeper and deeper contemplation,” Crary Art Gallery Vice President Thomas Paquette said. “These shows are going to knock anyone over who comes in our doors.”

As a signature member of the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society her work was featured in the first PWS show at the Crary in 2000; and the 31st and 34th annual international juried exhibitions in 2010 and 2013.

“It’s beautiful,” Lutz said of the Crary, “What a treasure. I’m excited to be showing here.”

Lutz began using watercolors in 1993 when she took a couple of workshops in Cambridge Springs.

“I was hooked,” she said. “So about 20 years for watercolor. But I’ve been doing art since I was a little kid.”

She attending Edinboro University for Art Education and is the owner of Kelly Run Gallery in Cambridge Springs where she teaches her own watercolor classes.

“In Jan’s paintings, she somehow draws you right inside the mind of her subject. You find yourself experiencing their world almost first-hand. They are very compelling that way,” Paquette said.

“Interbeing” will feature drawings and a few oil paintings, but is mostly watercolors.

“There’s something fun about watercolor because there’s always an element of surprise,” she said. “It’s harder to control and a lot of people feel that it’s a difficult medium. With the oil painting, if you don’t like something you can paint over it. With watercolor it’s pretty tough to correct any mistakes. You pretty much have to start over.”

For more information about Lutz, visit www.kellyrungalleryandframing.com.

Higgins was “laid low by a plant” after a allergic reaction to Hogweed a few days before he was supposed to bring his paintings to the Crary. Then on the way to Warren, he had to do a quick turnaround when one of his paintings went flying off the top of his truck.

Higgins said his paintings are “really just a function of time” and that “anyone can do it with enough patience and a small enough brush.”

“I’d like to think I made because my subject matter is a little slightly off kilter…hopefully something in my personality comes through in my paintings,” he said.

“David’s paintings can be whimsical – some are downright funny – and also deeply reflective. He paints a very human world, even if the main subject is cows or a deteriorated billboard. One painting shows a poorly written (for lack of letters, mostly) marquee for a roadside restaurant, and in that homey but grim painting, David manages to capture a whole world of humor and sadness and, frankly, strangeness. That is, the world we inhabit every day,” Paquette said.

For more information on Higgins visit his website at davidhigginsart.com

Both shows will be at the Crary Art Gallery from Jan. 4 through Jan. 25. Crary hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.