Arts & Culture

Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.

Clouds, Smoke and Vapors: The Art of Ward Davenny

Written by Joe Ulrich, Arts & Culture Desk and WITF Host | Aug 5, 2013 2:59 PM

Photo by Ward Davenny

Ward Davenny teaches art at Dickinson College and is also an avid watcher of the skies. Through photographs, charcoal drawings, etchings and paintings Ward focuses in particular on the way things like smoke, clouds and vapor bring shape to the otherwise invisible air."The fascination lies more with the movement of light and air," he says. "And the fact that when weather comes up like this it's kind of a materialization of something we don't normally see. We're not normally confronted with the air as such a physical presence."

Often times his works focus on the foreboding cloud formations that accompany storms and tornadoes, finding inspiration anywhere from his backyard to the plains in the Midwest. But in other works, he looks at the contrast of smoke against the clouds and also has used smoke itself to create paintings by preparing canvasses with a slow-drying medium and letting smoke pass across the surface.

While his works often are tied to violent forces like fire and storm, his work isn't really about destruction. "My goal is not to see destruction at all. It's to get that sense of something impending [and] you may not understand what it's going to bring."

"Clouds, Smoke and Vapors" is the title of Ward's exhibit which is currently on display at the Rose Lehrman Art Gallery on the HACC campus. The exhibit closes on Thursday, August 29 with a lecture from 5:30-6:30pm and a closing reception from 6:30-7:30pm. More information can be found at

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