MONTPELIER — The T.W. Wood Gallery is presenting an exhibit of two Vermont artists, Mary McKay Lower and Elizabeth Nelson, through Jan. 4. Nelson will feature works from her travels to Iceland and Lower her landscapes and still lifes.

Also on exhibit will be “Thomas Waterman Wood: The Master Copies,” a selection of Wood’s master copies from the gallery collection, through June 1.

An opening reception will be held 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, with refreshments and music by the duo Two Thirds as Far.

Lower paints landscapes, figures and still lifes. Underneath it all, she noted she is an abstract painter. Since moving to Vermont from New York City, she continues to teach and is on the board of the Middlebury Studio School. Lower enjoys working outdoors, but more art happens in her studio. She collects visual information and strives to retain the freshness of her original response, no matter how long she works on a painting. Lower’s work has been exhibited in New York City, New Jersey, Montana, China and Vermont.

Nelson graduated from Rhode Island School of Design, and went on to receive a master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Nelson moved to northern Vermont, where she has lived and worked ever since as a teacher, dairy farmer, museum curator and painter. She has exhibited throughout Vermont and New England as well as in juried shows in Wisconsin, New York, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

Wood created commissioned portraits across the United States and Canada, which lead to a trip to Europe in 1858 with his wife. While Wood was in Europe, he fell in love with the paintings of the European masters, including Rembrandt and Turner. Following current fashion, Wood copied paintings to learn techniques from the masters. These paintings showcase his learning process, as well as his skill, craft and subtle take on representing these famous master works. The importance of these paintings can be seen by the fact that they were created on site in Europe and shipped back to Vermont.

When originally displayed in Montpelier, this set of paintings would have been akin to an art history college text book today, as many Americans at the end of the 19th century wouldn’t have had access to European paintings. Even today, these paintings offer a chance to enjoy a masterly painted reproduction in person instead of the flatness of a photo in a book.

Gallery hours: noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; call 802-262-6035, or go online to The Gallery is located at 46 Barre St. at the Center for Arts and Learning.

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