Sep 29, 2009

David Heath exhibit premieres

by Cat Hewett

Look at the color, the strokes, the play of lights on the scene and get lost in David Heath’s American landscapes. The new Visual Communication Art’s art gallery in the VCAR department featured its first show Thursday with Heath’s art exhibit, “This Peaceful Land.”

The waiting line stretched through the hall and out onto the sidewalk as students, faculty, staff and other members of the community waited to enter the exhibit.

The show, located in the VCAR hall, began Thursday night with an opening reception. The exhibit features many art pieces from native Virginian artist Heath.

“One of my most important goals in painting is to encourage the viewer to participate in the scene, to become lost in my world,” Heath said. “The untouched landscape best communicates a sense of timelessness and serenity to the viewer, while the presence of man limits the scene to a specific moment in time.”

Much of Heath’s work comes from the landscapes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and rivers and lakes in Virginia. Heath has also painted scenes from the Adirondack Mountains in New York and coastal areas of New England and Virginia.

“We love Virginia,” Heath and his wife, Yvonne Heath, said. “We had opportunities to go other places, but we just wanted to stay here.”

Heath’s work has been described as contemporary in technique and style, but evocative of American art from the 1800s known as Hudson River School. Heath cited Albert Bierstadt, Frederic E. Church, Sanford R. Gifford, John F. Kensett and Fitz Henry Lane as influences on his work.

“I feel like I am dreaming in real life because all the paintings are so realistic when I look at them,” senior Tiffany Hetzlein said. “I feel like I am being pulled into another world.”

Heath has exhibited his works in the United States, Europe and Asia through public, private and corporate collections.

“I know that God had his hand in it,” Heath said.

Heath was born in Newport News, Va. and attended Central Virginia Community College and Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in commercial art.

Heath always knew that he wanted to be an artist and has always held a love of nature.

“My preoccupation with nature and my artistic aspirations could never be separated,” Heath said.

Though art was his lifelong dream, Heath never looked toward a future as a painter.

“I really did not want to paint all through college,” Heath said.
Soon after leaving school, however, Heath painted a few pictures and sold them to a friend.

In 1973, Heath made the jump from his commercial art job to painting full time and is now described as one of the most talented landscape artists today.

Heath’s work is said to show a personal celebration of the beauty of God’s creation, according to a Liberty Communications Department flier. On the back of each of his original paintings is the caption, “I found peace in Jesus Christ, my source and inspiration.”

For questions about the exhibit, go to or call 434-582-2111. The exhibit is available for viewing until Nov. 9. Gallery hours are posted a the galleries.

Contact Cat Hewett at

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