En Game Air: Clifford Miller, Connor Kenney, Dr. Merlin Seller

Event Dates:
  • Mon July 6, 2020 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Mon July 13, 2020 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Mon July 20, 2020 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Mon July 27, 2020 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Mon August 3, 2020 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • See All Events
  • Event Cost: By Donation
  • Social Media:

This exhibition explores and challenges our notion of landscape painting by asking: is this the future of landscape painting as we know it? A number of years ago while talking with artist Connor Kenney, he revealed that he was engaging in plein air painting while gaming, taking time to document the landscapes in the video games he was playing. I was fascinated by this on so many levels as it seemed to me, for Connor, that there was little or no separation between the real landscape outside his home and the ones depicted in the virtual world he was immersed in.

En plein air is a French expression meaning “in the open air,” and has up to this point referred to the act of painting outdoors with the artist’s subject in full view. In doing so, artists are able to capture the spirit, essence, and the subtle nuances of the landscape or subject as it is a dynamic environment, constantly moving and changing with the light and environmental conditions.

Later that summer Connor was participating in an intensive artist in residency program where he set up his gaming system, and over the residency he continued down this path. Was this merely an addiction to gaming or was there something more? Over the subsequent years I have wanted to explore this idea more thoroughly and had looked for the appropriate opportunity to develop an exhibition around the subject. This past year I started to explore the virtual landscape myself. The first thing I stumbled upon was Clifford Kamppari-Miller’s website en Game Air. It took a great deal of sleuthing to track down and contact Clifford in Portland, as I was fascinated by his approach and the way he documented his thoughts and process. Not being a gamer myself I was given a window into this mysterious world and wanted to know more and kept searching the internet for others, when I came across Dr. Merlin Seller in Scotland.

I reached out to Dr. Seller, currently working at the University of Edinburgh, and I was thrilled not only to receive a reply but to read what they wrote: “Thank you for getting in touch — this sounds like a fascinating (and timely) exhibition. With the recent widespread adoption of in-engine ‘photo-modes’ in many open-world games, there is a definite interest in the aesthetics of digital landscapes and scope for significant critical trans-media painting practices…”

And so it came to pass! Over the course of the exhibition, the games they have drawn their inspiration from will be on display for the public to try their hand at. Connor and Clifford will both be in Penticton to talk about their work and to host a workshop.

Paul Crawford, Curator

Exhibition runs July 4 – September 13

Monday-Friday: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday-Sunday: 11:00am – 4:00pm