Earth Day
"The Hidden Chautauqua" Gallery of Images

The Patterson Library’s Octagon Gallery will host a series of events related to “The Hidden Chautauqua,” a solo exhibition by regional landscape painter Thomas Annear. Events will include a
reception on July 18th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, an artist talk, and free plein air painting and nature journaling classes.

Tourists and residents alike know that Chautauqua County is home to fertile vineyards, picturesque orchards, and dramatic lake scenes. This exhibition of more than forty plein air oil paintings, however, explores the hidden gems of Chautauqua’s landscapes—from remote old-growth forests to rare and seasonal flora to spectacular views that are sometimes “hidden” in plain sight. Sites include the swamps at Waterman and Elm Flat, Panama Rocks, SUNY Fredonia’s College Lodge, Leolyn Woods at Lily Dale, and Long Point State Park.

In addition to the July 18th opening reception, there will be an
artist talk on Tuesday, July 22nd from 6:00 to 7:00 pm in the Octagon Gallery. During the talk, Annear will provide insights into the creation of selected works, discuss the unique ecosystems of several sites, and address audience questions and comments.

As part of the show’s programming, Annear will offer a series of free plein air painting and nature journaling classes at the SUNY Fredonia College Lodge in Brocton, NY. The
painting classes will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 pm on three consecutive Thursdays, July 17th, 24th, and 31st, concluding with a final class on Tuesday, August 5th. The journaling class will take place on Saturday, July 19th from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, as part of the College Lodge Bio Blitz.

All of the classes and events are free and open to the public. Space in the classes is limited and requires pre-registration. To learn more about the classes or to register, please visit www.thomasannear.com/classes. The classes are funded through the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Decentralization Program, which is administered by the Cattaraugus County Arts Council.

“The Hidden Chautauqua” will run from
July 3rd to September 12th, and is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 9:00 am-5 pm Tuesday and Thursday 9:00 am-8:00 pm. The Patterson Library’s Octagon Gallery is located on South Portage Street in Westfield. For more information about the show or related programming, please visit www.facebook.com/OctagonGallery.

538 Pond at College Lodge, Summer $500

Show Statement

Tourists and residents alike know that Chautauqua County is home to fertile vineyards, picturesque orchards, and dramatic lake scenes, and for more than a decade, I have painted these signature scenes. This exhibition, however, explores the hidden gems of Chautauqua’s landscapes—from remote old-growth forests to rare and seasonal flora to spectacular views that are sometimes “hidden” in plain sight.

Many of the paintings feature Chautauqua County’s old-growth forests, which make up less than 1% of the total land in the county. Journeying through seasons and microclimates, the works also capture the swamps at Waterman and Elm Flat, the geology of Panama Rocks, and the spring ephemerals, wetlands, and unique habitats at SUNY Fredonia’s College Lodge, Leolyn Woods at Lily Dale, and Long Point State Park.

In addition to depicting the quiet splendor of these infrequently visited or secluded sites, the show highlights the temporary landscapes created by seasonal changes and unique weather phenomena. From Lake Erie’s rugged ice hummocks to patches of Trillium, Pink Lady Slippers, and Jack-in-the-Pulpit at the College Lodge to the flaming fall foliage of Paradise Hill, “The Hidden Chautauqua” records fleeting scenes that emerge at the crossroads of weather, place, and time.

The main goals of "The Hidden Chautauqua" are to encourage a deeper appreciation for and preservation of these rare and sometimes endangered landscapes and to engage community members through artist talks, guided hikes, and plein-air painting classes. I hope the show inspires you to visit one of these sites and to discover your own hidden Chautauqua.

Greystone Nature Preserve, Late Winter


Artist Statement for Thomas Annear

Originally from Alexandria, Virginia, I have lived and worked as an artist in a variety of places before moving to Fredonia, New York in June 2000. Since graduating with a BFA in painting from Rutgers University in 1995, my work has shifted from political and abstract pieces to paintings that focus on contemporary uses of our environment and a strong sense of place.

Over the past ten years, I have been completing a series of plein air paintings that celebrate the beauty and history of local agricultural communities. Through these works I have sought to capture the unique geography, weather patterns, and natural resources of Western New York. Increasingly conservation and sustainability issues have become central to my work.

“The Hidden Chautauqua” has given me the opportunity to go back to school, with the forests as my primary classroom. Instead of merely recording features of the landscape, I’ve allowed nature—the flows of the water, the succession of the plants, the seasonal plays of light, and the soundscapes—to inform the works. More so than ever before, the timing of spring ephemerals and the weather have dictated when and what I sought to capture.

Also unique to this show has been my interaction with local naturalists and biologists, who have taken me to specific locations and given me a better understanding of the dynamics of various ecosystems. By highlighting the threats of the Emerald Ash Borer, climate change, human impacts, and different invasive species, these naturalists have given me a deeper understanding of the places featured in “The Hidden Chautauqua.” Through the works and programming, I hope to pass on some of this knowledge and appreciation of these sites.