Pious paintings: Simpson United Methodist Church to host art shows

A 7-year-old vision to morph Pullman’s Simpson United Methodist Church and its fellowship hall into an art space has finally come to fruition.

click to enlarge Geoff Crimmins/Daily NewsLarry Arbour works on a painting at Simpson United Methodist Church in Pullman on Thursday.
Geoff Crimmins/Daily News
Larry Arbour works on a painting at Simpson United Methodist Church in Pullman on Thursday.

“The United Methodist Women have been trying to incorporate a program here that brings the arts into the community and offers a place for artists to come from the congregation,” said church secretary and painter Larry Arbour, whose work is currently being displayed at the church.

Arbour, 52, paints by blending elements of abstract design with traditional landscapes.

“I’m allowing the painting to paint itself, rather than intruding on it with realism,” Arbour said.

Arbour uses big art terms to describe his paintings and the others that hang in the church, which range from watercolors to pen and ink and photography. He is working toward a bachelor’s in history with an arts concentration at the University of Idaho.

UI professor Marco Deyasi told Arbour there are no rules in postmodernism, and that has allowed him to express anything he wants as an artist.

click to enlarge Geoff Crimmins/Daily NewsThis painting by Larry Arbour is part of a show at Simpson United Methodist Church in Pullman.
Geoff Crimmins/Daily News
This painting by Larry Arbour is part of a show at Simpson United Methodist Church in Pullman.

“For myself, what it means, is that I don’t have to compete anymore,” he said. “That two pieces of art sitting side by side can be two completely different styles, and they don’t have to fit any rules, structure or any canon considered by anyone walking along.”

Alice Davis, a UMW member, said Arbour was one of the artists chosen for the exhibit because she thought the congregation could work a bit harder to get his career started.

“He’s in his 50s, but has the enthusiasm of a young artist,” said Davis, who helped plan the church’s second art show. The United Methodist Women also are planning a December quilt show and a springtime religious art and calligraphy show.

Thursdays and Saturdays through Nov. 3, Arbour will paint for the public to view.

“People can come and get an idea of exactly what the work is and talk about it,” Arbour said. “I’m completely open to interruptions. Seven years ago, I had a vision for my own art as a process to give full disclosure to people, so some of those stereotypes around artists can fall.”

Arbour’s art is available for purchase.

“This art exhibit is about community, it’s about all those artists that are expressing themselves to their friends and their families in ways that we usually don’t make time to think about,” Arbour said.

Treffry can be contacted at (208) 883-4640 or ltreffry@inland360.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @LindseyTreffry.

->if you go: WHAT: Simpson United Methodist Church art show WHEN: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday; Larry Arbour artist-in-residence paintings take place 4-6 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday through Nov. 3. WHERE: Simpson United Methodist Church, 325 NE Maple St., Pullman. Parking is available on Kamiaken Street off of Main Street. COST: Free

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