Washington D.C. artist Andrei Kushnir has recorded the history of the Shenandoah Valley through a series of paintings that capture the extraordinary beauty and vitality of the region, qualities that enticed pioneers to settle there and inspired artists to try to capture its vistas. The buildings and patterns of land distribution that are the substance of Kushnir's paintings provide tangible evidence of the Valley’s settlement and diversity, from communities and historic sites to farmlands and waterways. 52 of Kushnir's 263 painted landscapes of the Valley will be featured in this exhibition, with the entire body of his Valley landscapes pictured and described in the exhibition's companion catalog available for sale in our museum shop.
What you will see:
Rediscover the Shenandoah Valley as a landscape of American diversity, settlement, and conflict.
Explore how the story of our nation’s mixing of cultures remains spread across a spectacular natural setting.
Discover how pioneers of English, German, Scots-Irish, French, and African descent moved into the Valley in waves of settlement and established a legacy of remarkably-varied religious beliefs.
Learn about the lingering impacts of the Civil War.
Plus, hear music by nationally-known Old Time Banjo artist Dan Gellert specifically created to accompany Kushnir's works.
Why you want to come:
Kushnir is one of the most accomplished artists to have painted the Valley of Virginia, capturing both its beauty and complex history. Historian Ed Ayers states in one of the exhibition catalog’s essays, “Kushnir’s luminous images represent time as a living presence on the land. Many of the paintings carry shadows of history that are meaningful and haunting.”
About the Artist:
After experimenting with various media, Andrei Kushnir started painting in oils in 1980 and quickly discovered the joys of painting landscapes outdoors, en plein air. Essentially self-taught, Kushnir developed a naturalistic, realist style that focuses on the American landscape. Along with painting the Shenandoah Valley, he has also painted along the shores of Maine, New York, Cape Hatteras and Florida’s Gulf Coast, as well as in the Western U.S. states, particularly Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. His work has been exhibited across the United States.
by Andrei Kushnir
The Shenandoah Valley is widely renowned for its beauty and its idyllic landscape of farms, fields, historic towns, and Civil War battlefields. Framed to the east and west by the majestic Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, the region is defined by the river made famous in the 1882 song "Oh, Shenandoah."
The highly regarded painter Andrei Kushnir has spent years traveling throughout every corner of the Shenandoah Valley, capturing its myriad landscapes and architectural features with panache and an extraordinary appreciation for place. The paintings collected here highlight Kushnir’s rare ability to paint any landscape before him―pastoral or industrial, recreational or social, rural or urban, riparian or agricultural―all the while working out in the elements, en plein air. By organizing Kushnir’s paintings along highways US 11, US 340, and VA 42, enabling travelers to follow the paintings in geographical order, the book captures the Shenandoah Valley and its famous river in a uniquely comprehensive and intuitive way.
In addition to the 263 plein-air paintings, Oh, Shenandoah presents in-depth historical and curatorial essays by Warren R. Hofstra, William M. S. Rasmussen, and Jeffrey C. Everett about the Valley and Kushnir’s significant contribution to our understanding of it, adding a rich, textual component to complement Kushnir's artistry.
400 pages, 978-1938086410, George F. Thompson Publishing, 2016, Hardcover