Moberly Artist Headlines Summer Show

Painting by Jared Van CleveThe summer show at the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American art will begin later this month, with a colorful exhibit by an area artist working in a relatively new style. Opening May 26, the show will be headlined by Jared Van Cleve’s paintings in an exhibit titled, “Open Impressionism of Missouri Landscapes.”

Van Cleve, a resident of the Moberly area, says his journey with art began when he won a drawing contest as a child and continued throughout his life. He went through three different majors in college at Missouri Western State University before deciding to follow his passion and pursue art as a career.

He spent several years working mostly on drawings, but around seven years ago “really focused” on oil painting. Having only taken one painting class in college, Van Cleve had to dedicate many hours to self-teaching through practice and research. Part of that research led him to study open impressionism, a branch of contemporary impressionism developed by California artist Erin Hanson.

“That style was close to what I was already doing, so I studied her and studied open impressionism and kind of melded what I was doing with what she was doing,” said Van Cleve. “The idea is that you’re trying to accomplish your painting in one take. So you’re not blending [the colors], you’re just letting the viewer really put it together with their eyes.”

Van Cleve’s work, like all open impressionism, uses loose and expressive brush strokes to convey a sense of movement and light. He says he usually begins with a first coat of a single color, either subtle or vivid, depending on the direction of the painting. Then brush strokes are laid side-by-side to create texture, movement, and light.

In addition to the contemporary flavor of impressionism, Van Cleve also takes inspiration from a more classic version when it comes to the subjects of his paintings. He gestures to the tattoo of Vincent Van Gogh on his wrist to emphasize the Dutch post-impressionist’s influence on his work.

“When I saw that he was really just focused on his immediate surroundings, I thought that was really interesting. Because you can take the mundane, something we see every day, and try to make it more interesting,” said Van Cleve. “That was my challenge: taking things that are within a few miles of my home and making those little snapshots visually interesting.”

In taking on this challenge, Van Cleve often snaps photos of the scenery right around his home about ten miles north of Moberly, using his pictures as references to create beautiful landscape paintings of the water, trees, or flowers that he sees on the way to work at Moberly High School.

In Van Cleve’s day job as a teacher and coach, some students “just don’t care” about his work as a painter, but for others, his art can be both impressive and intimidating. He says some art students think they will never be able to reach his level, but he likes to remind them that it took him many years of practice and hard work to become the artist he is today.

“A lot of them are more talented than I was when I was their age, and I remind them that, really, the only difference is the work ethic,” he said.

His own work ethic and talent have led Van Cleve to the opportunity to do several shows prior to the exhibit at the Ashby-Hodge Gallery, including some in Columbia and a solo exhibit in San Diego.

The summer show at Ashby-Hodge will open with a reception with the artist on May 26 and run through July 25 in the Geist Gallery. The other two rooms will house a show of portraits from the permanent collection.

The Gallery will be open from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and special tours and groups are welcome by appointment. Contact curator Tyler Pierson at or 660-248-6304 to schedule a time. The Gallery is located on the first floor of Classic Hall, on the CMU Fayette campus.

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