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‘Reflection’ exhibit celebrates a lifetime love of light, lake life and color

Impressionist painting depicting white water lilies in bloom on a lake surface of greens and blues
MacRostie Art Center
Marva Harms' "Water Lilies in Stone's Bay #2" is part of her "Reflection" exhibit at MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids.

Marva Harms spent a lifetime as both teacher and student. Her current exhibit at the MacRostie Art Center celebrates light, color, impressionism and lake life.

GRAND RAPIDS — At age 13, Marva Harms pulled a book from the shelf in the school library that changed the trajectory of her life.

Intrigued by the impressionistic art in the book she opened, her fascination with the subject was born. Throughout her career as an art instructor in public schools and universities, Harms shared her love of art and art history with students while being a perpetual learner herself, attending workshops and painting events internationally and close to home throughout her life.

“I am an impressionist and I use color. That’s my thing.”
Marva Harms

“Reflection” is Marva Harms’ exhibit at MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids. It’s a collection of 55 years of paintings depicting lake scenes inspired by a workshop she attended led by artist Ted Goerschner in Cincinnati years ago. He’d painted 500 pieces for a project. Harms set out to paint 100, and the “Reflection” exhibit took shape.

“I am an impressionist and I use color. That’s my thing,” Harms said.

Harms said she paints every day based on the availability of natural light. Sunlight and how it reflects off her subjects play a big role in her painting. She enjoys the solitude, she said.

“I love peace,” Harms said. “I love just making all those big shapes and I love painting.”

She stays true to impressionistic style throughout the exhibit, paying less attention to exact lines and intricate design details while focusing more on shape and color and brushstrokes, thematic composition and how light effects images and overall composition.

“Reflection” will be on exhibit at the MacRostie until May 27.

Area Voices is made possible by the MN Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of MN.

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Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. She returned for a second stint in 2016-23. She produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota.