WINCHESTER — The world that artist Barry Vance creates with oil paint actually never existed. It’s a world in which vintage billboards flank open highways dotted with historical monuments in out-of-context locations. It’s a place in which brilliant blue skies are always punctuated with light, puffy clouds, icy-white jet contrails and in the distance, a ghostly full moon.

In Vance’s world, a 1940s motor court offers bright blue, steeply gabled bungalows behind a sparkling swimming pool which, somehow, is in sight of historic Belle Grove. In his world, the muscular curve of an elevated highway flyover is set against a bucolic two-lane country road, beside which flows a stream in which a country boy slings a fishing rod.

An exhibition of Vance’s work, titled “Under The Appalachian Sky,” opened Saturday at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley and will be there through June 2018. The 32 finished pieces, accompanied by three preparatory drawings and four sketchbooks, present a vision of the region as a kind of dreamscape, according to museum Director of Exhibitions Corwyn Garman.

The Vance exhibit is the third in a new series curated by Garman in the museum’s Shenandoah Valley Gallery, which was created as part of an expansion of display space undertaken since 2013 — from 1,300 square feet to 6,000 square feet.

Many of the pieces on display have never been shown publicly before, having been part of private collections or owned by Vance himself. Born in Baltimore and educated in New York, Vance began painting the Shenandoah Valley on visits here that began in the 1970s.Vance, 71, became a permanent resident of Winchester in 1976.

“The paintings were generally small-scale,” he said. “I had dozens in the trunk of my car.”

Five of these, aligned at the entrance to the gallery, depict such Winchester scenes as a Cole Brothers elephant marching in the Apple Blossom Festival Grand Feature Parade, a child on a bicycle in Indian Alley, and the original placement of the statue of young George Washington in front of his frontier museum on Cork Street.

“The detail is fantastic,” said John Warren, 70, of Winchester, who attended a reception Saturday at the opening of the exhibit. “Each piece has a little bit of whimsy in it.”

Vance says his pieces aren’t “landscapes in a conventional sense.” For him, the paintings are visual expressions of the feelings he gets from the region.

“You’re in a place of my interpretation of the valley,” he said.

Vance said he paints from memory, and much of the subject matter has to do with change. In one painting, Vance includes an advertising sign for an antique mall, which he said is a kind of an oxymoron: while malls are new, antiques are old.

Many of Vance’s paintings center on his vision of Interstate 81.

“I see the valley as a transportation corridor over time,” he said.

Two triptychs are included in the exhibition. One, “Heading Home on a Frosty Morning,” offers a look at a country road from three separate perspectives. The other, a wide-scale vision of the Shenandoah Valley, employs a large central panel to show the valley and two smaller side panels for images of the two mountain ranges that flank it.

In addition to providing a wide visual, the paintings become “sculptural elements on the wall,” Vance said.

The museum is located at 901 Amherst St. Admission is $10, or $8 for seniors and youth ages 13 to 18. Children under 12 are free. Admission to all is free on Wednesdays. Information is at or by calling 540-662-1473.