We know what you're thinking. Impressionist paintings are boring, and those oh-so-pretty depictions of bucolic French landscapes are the sort of art swill your grandma would like.
These are precisely the reasons you need to go see "In Monet's Light: Theodore Robinson at Giverny."
A lifetime of seeing murky reproductions of Pissarros and Renoirs on mouse pads, coffee mugs and note cards has blinded you to the power of the movement that launched modern art. Unless you have seen an Impressionist painting in person, you haven't really seen an Impressionist painting.
When it burst onto the art scene in the late 19th century, Impressionism was an artistic revolution. Before then, artists painted exactly what they saw, and they did so with a lot of black paint in their palette. Impressionism was about painting with your heart, about capturing your impressions of a subject in raw, unmixed color and aggressive brush strokes. Instead of painting, say, how a pond looked, Claude Monet and the cabal of artists who adapted the new style painted how the pond made them feel.
The exhibition at PAM tells the story of Impressionism through the career of one painter, Robinson, an American who moved to France, befriended Monet and began painting in the style of his new ami. Seeing the change in Robinson's work post-Monet is like witnessing a creative explosion.
But best of all, the show includes six real live Monets, including Field of Poppies, Giverny (pictured). A Rouen cathedral painting is there on the wall, a gorgeous reverie that booted reality out the studio door, as is a Wheat Stack painting and a seascape titled Ravine of the Creuse. See them, and you will feel the power of paint in the hands of a genius.