Long X Arts Foundation Celebrates 1st Gallery Exhibit

The Long X Arts Foundation is pleased to announce the first exhibition in their new gallery space located in the basement of the Long X Visitor Center, 100 2nd Ave SW, Watford City.

"Celebrating the Essence," is a collection of oil paintings by local professional artist Morgan Wagner. It is on display from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday until April 28 and the exhibit is free and open to the public.

In addition, all are welcome to the Open House event as the Long X Arts Foundation celebrates the new space and the exhibit on Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Enjoy a special meet and greet with the artist, snacks and refreshments. In a special program, local artist Daphne Johnson-Clark will be presenting a portrait to a local family as part of her COVID Portrait Project at 11 a.m.

"As artists this was a way for us to give something lasting to the families and friends who lost someone to COVID," said Johnson-Clark. Local artist Jessica Newman will also be making remarks regarding her participation in the project.

Wagner is a local working artist who specializes in drawing, painting, illustration and graphic design. She has a nose for adventure and has traveled extensively in the United States on her bike and in her hiking boots. She currently lives in Watford City with her husband where she enjoys painting in her studio, putting up murals around town, getting plenty of physical exercise, and teaching art and yoga classes.

Wagner's still life and plein air oil and watercolor paintings are born from a need to develop as an artist. She chose to paint, rather than photograph, because while a photograph can do a good job of preserving a specific image and time, it can't select for the most important details in a subject. In addition, it doesn't allow for the time, careful scrutiny, and intention it takes to make a painting.

"I've heard love described as: 'paying careful attention to.' If this is the case, when I practice painting, I am practicing love," said Wagner.

"My work focuses on the essence of what makes my everyday subjects beautiful. I try to create an impression of light and form, simplifying shapes and distilling the subject down to its most important parts."

Each painting in this 42-piece collection was created in a single session, usually between 2 or 3 hours long. Wagner painted the still lifes in her apartment while listening to music or podcasts, typically in her kitchen. The landscapes were painted on-site, plein air.

"It's important to me that I paint what my eyes see, so they were all painted directly from life, not from a picture," said Wagner. "When I see them, these paintings make me hopeful that it's worth the effort to try again and again, that daily, sustainable, practice yields the most powerful results, and that practicing for a lifetime is the only way to know just how good I can get."

This exhibition is sponsored by the North Dakota Art Gallery Association with support from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information contact the Long X Arts Foundation at [email protected] or 701-770-8659.


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