Local Artist Terry Willis to Show Her Paintings with the Smithsonian “Crossroads” Exhibit


Press Release

Terry Willis, a local artist and recently-elected Price Councilwoman, will show a selection of her paintings in an exhibit entitled, “Sacred Spaces in a changing Landscape.” Willis’s paintings will be on view in the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center (JLSC) on the campus of Utah State University Eastern from Jan. 20 through March 3 as part of the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit, “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.” An artist talk will be held on Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. in the JLSC.

Willis’s paintings express her love of the Utah landscape. She explained, “Capturing the profound beauty that surrounds us is the focus of my art. I spend time in the outdoors truly seeing what the changing light and weather that can do to transform an ordinary scene into one of magic.”

“Each painting is an effort to seize the moment of awe-inspiring beauty,” she said. “It is a process to give depth to the scene and allow the viewer to truly enjoy that interpretation of my experience for themselves and to give it their own meaning.”

Of the title of this exhibit, she wrote, “My paintings reflect my sacred spaces in an ever-changing landscape before they become lost forever.”

Willis has been drawn to painting since 1974 when she joined the Navy and began to paint landscapes and seascapes of duty stations on both coasts and in Iceland. Most of this early work has been sold and is no longer available.

Her style has evolved and progressed as a self-taught artist. She began painting professionally in 2008 and switched from acrylics to oils in 2009.

Willis grew up in Iowa along the Mississippi River. She located to Utah in 1980 after her years in the Navy. Moved by the rugged canyons, peace and solitude found in the wild canyons, she knew she had found her home.

Working as a professional river guide, she shared these places with her clients, seeing firsthand how a little desolation and solitude can change people’s lives. Willis brings this passion to her paintings. She strives to capture a moment as light and shadow play across canyons, rivers and ridges. In each creation, she works to express the feeling of being alone and at peace in an incredible but real place. Viewing her paintings is like a little respite in the wilderness.

Willis works out of her studio in Price, Utah. She and her husband enjoy exploring the wild country of the Colorado Plateau and beyond. Each painting has a story behind it that goes hand and hand with the adventures they share.

Willis has been represented by four galleries, including Lisa Chamberlain’s Gallery Helper, Contemporary Art and Design SLC, Wohler’s Art and Framing SLC, and Trackside Gallery Helper. In addition to two solo shows at the J & Jeanne Wagner Jewish Center, four solo shows at the Prehistoric Museum and one at Gallery East USU Eastern Campus, she has been invited to many other shows as a participant. Willis has participated in the Utah Arts Festive, Durango Arts Festival and Sedona Arts Festival, as well as many others. She has been the Featured Artist at the Las Lagunas Art Gallery in California.

For more information on Willis, visit her her Facebook page at Terry Willis-Willis Works Studio or her website at www.willisworksstudio.com

For questions on the exhibit, contact Michaelann Nelson at (435) 613-5215 or by email at michaelann.nelson@usu.edu

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