Award-winning Appalachian artist Ed Green will bring his first solo exhibition, “Impressions of the City,” to the Bluff Blue Door Gallery in Akron. An opening reception and public viewing will take place Saturday, Nov. 18, from 5 to 10 p.m.
Green’s oil-painting style is bold, colorful and unique, inspired by the confusion and sensory overload he experiences when venturing into the city. His 20-year journey in painting also has helped him deal with PTSD and childhood demons.
He was raised on the Ohio River in the small city of Martins Ferry, and extreme poverty and an alcoholic and abusive father marked his childhood. His dislike for larger cities began as he walked the train tracks at a young age over the Ohio River to work as an underage dishwasher in the much larger city of Wheeling, W.Va. He later joined the Army to escape his humble beginnings and visited large cities all over the country, which further solidified his aversion to city life. After serving in several tours of duty in Vietnam, he came back to the Ohio Valley to start a family and worked in a steel mill for roughly the next 40 years of his life.
Green has always possessed an artistic ability, but didn’t act on it while he was busy building a house from mostly scrap and recycled materials. With the help of his partner and wife Mary Lee and their son Christopher (Blue), they took several years to build their dream home, while he worked a full-time job as a shipping clerk in the mill. Around the age of 40, after his son had left home to attend the University of Akron, Green began to pursue his then hobby of oil painting. This hobby quickly became a passion, and his self-taught style garnered recognition, as he won awards in several states for his oil painting, pastels and watercolors.
From trips to Akron to visit his son, to drives to Pittsburgh for VA hospital appointments, these journeys have shaped his current style of cityscapes. In Green’s view, the city is loud, bright and confusing, a never-ending maze where each turn leads one down a completely different path. He says the painting process is therapeutic and that each painting speaks to him as it progresses, and he lets his subconscious guide his paint and bold color choices.
His current collection of vivid paintings is best seen in person, and they range in size from 9 by 9 inches to 38 by 32 inches.
The opening reception will include a bonfire (weather permitting) and live music by Chris Miller at 6 p.m. Green’s work will be at the Bluff Blue Door Gallery (152 Bluff St. in downtown Akron) through Dec. 2, and private tours are available by emailing [email protected].