By Sue Stovall
“Last Light on East Chop,” oil on canvas by Jeanne Staples at Windham Fine Arts
With blankets of white covering the landscape, creeks frozen in endless ice formations and trees standing in dark silhouettes, the month of February in our region has a stillness that lends itself to contemplation. Viewing art is often a contemplative experience as well. This month the galleries in the region present a variety of very compelling art. From an exhibition that portrays landscapes and cityscapes in both familiar and unique ways to a show of works that evokes both peaceful and disquieting associations; from an exhibit of over 50 artists to one of only one person’s work; from a show of free standing sculpture and fiber art to one of imaginative works on paper, this month’s viewable could very well quicken your imagination and inspire your mind to contemplation.
The Arts Upstairs, a new gallery in Phoenicia, is displaying over a hundred works of art in its latest show, City & Country. More than fifty artists are offering their very differing interpretations of what the city or the country means to them. Lynn Fliegel has several small paintings of barns and other rural landscapes, as well as an abstract painting that uses three separate canvases to depict the city. Bronson Eden rummaged through the rubbish in and near his home in Mt. Tremper and constructed a dynamic abstract assemblage from his findings. Gavin Owen provided a highly detailed drawing of a building on Canal Street in New York City, a drawing of a country road, a painting of a graffiti-covered New York subway car and more. Margaret Owen painted impressionistic country scenes on silk. Tom Fraser and Lesley Reich each presented photos, the first of city scenes in London and Minneapolis and the second of pastoral landscapes. Artwork from other artists included paintings in pop, surreal and realistic styles, photographs from large-scale landscapes to the details of a single flower, drawings, collages, sculptures in wood and metal, a video and many other media. Despite the broad variety, the show is coherently and attractively presented, making full use of the half dozen rooms available in the gallery.
The Arts Upstairs is located at 60 Main Street in Phoenicia, NY. Regular hours are Friday 2 to 8 pm, Saturday 10 am to 7 pm and Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. It is also the home of The Shop at the Gallery, a gift shop, which features Babytoes Clothing, Owen Silk Painting and works by Pottery Mountain and others. Do be sure and pay them a visit. It is time well spent.
The Gallery at R & F is presenting Hive and Hue, recent encaustic paintings by Philadelphia-based artist, Michelle Marcuse. The exhibition is on view from February 5 through March 26.
Michelle Marcuse does not plan her paintings in advance. Drawing a correlation between her work and that of a composer, the artist describes her process as “a color and form puzzle which is completed when a level of harmony and tension is reached within the composition.” Her imagery begins as an abstraction, but then reaches a point where the abstraction becomes recognizable as a familiar segment of her environment. In this sense, her paintings are fantasy-scapes, evoking disquieting or peaceful associations.
“Sky of Fire,” oil on canvas by Kevin Cook at Windham Fine Arts
Ms. Marcuse attended The Shenkar College of Fashion & Textile Technology in Tel Aviv, Israel (1981), The Michaelis School of Art in Cape Town, South Africa (1983) and The Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia (1985). Her work is exhibited widely and featured in The Bangkok Collection, Cultural Fiber, at the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Gallery space is housed within the factory of R&F Handmade Paints, which is one of the few manufacturers of encaustic paint in the world. The Gallery is on the second floor of the Millard Building at 506 Broadway in midtown Kingston, NY. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. For further information, call 845 331 3112.
January 29 marked the opening of Into the Woods, an exhibition at GCCA’s Catskill Gallery inspired by the mystery of the forest. This show features works by local and regional artists who invoke the spirits found among the timbers. The fairytale world of lost children, the homes of woodland birds and insects and the textured carpet of the forest floor are brought into the dappled light under the canopy by these pieces. The exhibition runs through March 5 and is based on a 2004 show curated by Lorrie Fredette at The Catskill Mountain Foundation (map) Gallery in Hunter.
Artists whose works are showcased here include Jeanne Cameron, Jeri Eisenberg, Jeanne Englert and Carol Hart. Jeanne Cameron travels the world, creating life masks of indigenous people to transform anthropomorphic tree forms into site-specific sculptures that she photographs, drawing upon her background in mythology and symbolism. Jeri Eisenberg searches for her woodlands inspiration within a twenty minute walk from her back door, photographing the sublime behind the ordinary in her tonal sketches of light and dark that obscure details to allow the infinite and eternal to emerge. Jeanne Englert exhibits fine pencil drawing made from nature and abstracted in the studio so that tiny twigs and forest growths reveal the powerful life force within them. Carol Hart combines nature’s botanical gifts with the ingenuity of humankind in her woven sculptures that reference nests and cocoons cradled by the branches.
GCCA Catskill Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. The gallery is located on 398 Main Street in Catskill, NY. The Catskill Gallery also offers a Second Floor Gift Shop, featuring handmade crafts from local and regional GCCA members. For more information please call the GCCA Catskill offices at 518 943 3400.
Following in the brushstrokes of Thomas Cole and Frederick Church, artist members of The Greene County Council on the Arts exhibit contemporary works in their Annual Landscape Exhibit at the GCCA Mountaintop Gallery in Windham, NY. Landscape 2005 runs through February 27.
Many of the original paintings, prints, photographs and multimedia works shown here by these local and regional artists are inspired by the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River Valley of Greene and Columbia County Counties, made famous more than a century ago in the landscapes of the Hudson River School painters. A wide range of approaches to landscape art is represented in this show, from grand views to intimate studies.
The GCCA Mountaintop Gallery, located on Main Street in Windham, NY, is open Thursday 10 am to 2 pm and Friday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. The Mountaintop Gallery also has a Gift Shop, featuring handmade crafts from local and regional GCCA members. For more information please call the Mountaintop Gallery at 518 734 3104 or the GCCA Catskill offices at 518 943 3400.
While in Windham be sure and go to Windham Fine Arts, where the works of Jeanne Staples and Kevin Cook are being presented in a landscape show aptly titled Remembrances of Impressions Past. This show, opening February 12, has the power to transport you to a beautiful moment, captured for eternity. The work of both artists has a look, which transcends time and conjures an essential quality in the subject matter. Although these two artists paint similar subjects and both have a unique golden glow to their art, the impression left with the viewer is vastly different.
Kevin Cook returns to Windham Fine Arts with his stunning landscapes reminiscent of the Hudson River Valley artists, who have been such an influence on his career. Mr. Cook’s work is inspired by the nineteenth century views on communion with nature. Essentially a realist, he incorporates strong undercurrents of romanticism into his painting echoing the work of John Constable, Frederic Church and Martin Johnson Heade. His subjects are largely familiar local scenes but through Mr. Cook’s eyes an ordinary farm or a simple, wooded country path has a magical quality emphasizing the inner peace and the spirit of each place. His personal style of painting is not an imitation of the practices of the old schools. His representation of the natural world and artistic palette are handled in a more contemporary manner. Mr. Cook received a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from SUNY New Paltz and shows extensively in the New York area.
Jeanne Staples debuts at Windham Fine Arts with landscapes of the rough, dramatic shorelines and vernacular architecture of her native New England. Her sensibility is straightforward and unsentimental and it is evident in her work. She strives to evoke visual and emotional memories of places without romanticizing them. Ms. Staples’ work elicits an unexpected response from the viewer, who is often invited to observe the scene from an unusual angle such as the rear of a building or a neighbor’s yard giving the viewer the guilty pleasure of trespassing on the private side of places. Her subtlety implies rather than shows something about the people who might inhabit a place by evoking an atmosphere or nudging the viewer’s curiosity.The influences of Edward Hopper and Charles Burchfield are obvious in the timelessness and mystery in her work. She received her art education from Ithaca College, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Norwich University. She shows extensively from Nova Scotia, Canada to Naples, Florida.
Windham Fine Arts is located at 5380 Main Street in Windham, NY. Hours are 11 am to 5 pm Thursday through Monday. Call for information at 518 734 6850 or visit them on the Web at www.windhamfinearts.com.
“Sound of Color #3,” acrylic on canvas by Cathy Johanson at Carrie Haddad Gallery
“Cones,” mixed fiber sculpture by Eva Drizhal at the Coffey Gallery
The first show of the new year at Carrie Haddad Gallery features an eclectic mix of artists, all first-time exhibitors at the gallery. Artists included in New Year, New Works are Cathy Johanson, Stephen Walling, Chris Metze, Joshua Brehse, Bob Bishop, Anna Cinquemani, Steve Derrickson and Wesley Wheeler. Each artist will be exhibiting abstract or non-representational paintings. The techniques and materials used range from traditional oil on canvas to melted beeswax on wood to painted and collaged wood. The work is exciting, innovative and affordable.
Stephen Walling’s abstract collages bring to mind the woods of the Hudson Valley. He incorporates strips of wood into the painted works to create three-dimensional pieces evocative of the forest on a misty day.
Chris Metze is showing new works on paper. Purely abstract and playful, these works employ layering and a pale, clear palette.
The work of Anna Cinquemani is similarly optimistic, with overlapping blocks of bright color on large canvases. Half-hidden in some of her works are repeated algebraic equations, which inspire titles such as Solution and its converse Denying the Solution.
Bob Bishop lives in retirement in southern California where he crafts small abstract “cartonage” sculptures made of matboard. First developed by the Egyptians to embellish mummy cases, cartonage was later employed as a decorative art form by 18th century French pastry shops as a means of displaying their wares.
Also an Egyptian art form, the use of encaustic, or pigmented beeswax, has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in recent years. In creating the soft blues and greens of his encaustic works, Joshua Brehse layers the melted beeswax over a wood panel to create to create organic images. The translucent layers of beeswax allow the flat images to convey a sense of depth.
Steve Derrickson’s fascination with science fiction inspires his series of nostalgic paintings of UFO sightings.
Cathy Johanson’s earth-toned acrylic paintings resemble mosaics. The simple subjects that she presents like a vase or room interior are brought to life with small chips of color, allowing the viewer to see an everyday scene with fresh eyes.
The show runs until February 27. Carrie Haddad Gallery is located at 622 Warren Street in Hudson, NY. The gallery is open Thursday through Monday from 11am to 5pm. For more information, call 518 828 1915, or go to the Web site, www.carriehaddadgallery.com.
For the month of February, the Coffey Gallery is featuring the complementary sculptural works of two Hudson Valley artists. Claudio Stalling turns local wood on his lathe to create unique free standing sculptures, vases and bowls. Eva Drizhal’s powerful, large-scale fiber works hang on the wall.
Claudio Stalling’s love of trees and nature inspires him to use an environmentally responsible approach to producing his sculptures. He harvests only fallen trees and uses natural finishes, such as linseed and walnut oils. Even his chainsaw oil is made from biodegradable canola oil special ordered from Germany. His style of wood-turning accentuates the beauty inherent in each tree trunk. He uses his lathe without any specific plan, allowing each piece to guide him and his tools. Knots, bark covered holes and rims are preserved and showcased. A few sculptures have their original moss, dry and clinging to a bark rim, even after five years. Trained at a respected cabinetry and wood sculpture school in Germany, Mr. Stalling is known for his attention to detail and craftsmanship. His work was recently featured in Kaatskill Life magazine. Though he has had numerous private showings since he arrived in the Hudson Valley in 2000, this will be his first gallery exhibition.
Eva Drizhal, a Czech artist, is also inspired by nature. Her fiber works are made from jute, sisal and wool. She hand dyes her materials using the soft, natural colors characteristic of central European weavings. In making her work, Ms. Drizhal uses a slow, therapeutic process. She weaves her varied materials into beautiful, earthy patterns, then shapes the woven material into simple, organic shapes which she groups together to create her wall sculptures. The ensuing works, with their varied textures, colors and forms can be easily hung and are a great compliment to modern as well as rustic and primitive furniture.
The Coffey Gallery is located at 330 Wall Street in Kingston, NY. The hours are Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 am to 5 pm, Thursday through Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm and Sunday from 1 to 5 pm. For more information, please call 845 339 6105.
Deborah Davis Fine Art, Inc. opened its 2005 season with an exhibition of drawings by six artists: Keith Bendis, Hyla Shifra Bolsta, Ellen Cohen, Marie-Louise McHugh, Bob Smith and Arthur Yanoff.
Drawing is the delineation on a surface of shapes and forms. It is a major fine-art technique in itself, but also serves as the basis of all pictorial representation and as a preliminary step in most painting, sculpture and architecture. The techniques used to make drawings vary widely according to the effect desired by the artist and the purpose that the drawing will serve, that is, whether the drawing is an end in itself or a preliminary to some other medium or form. The drawings in the exhibit are illustrative of various techniques and styles. For example, Keith Bendis’ unique and evocative humorous pen and ink linear drawings illustrate the people, places and events in New York City, while Arthur Yanoff’s abstract drawings on paper, made as preliminary sketches to works on canvas, reflect a spontaneity embodying the artist’s ideas. Linear drawings of landscapes by California artist Hyla Shifra Bolsta are softened with the use of charcoal in combination with pencil. Ellen Cohen, a resident of The Netherlands, will be represented in the show by her pastel and charcoal nudes, drawings that have a painterly effect because the pastel and charcoal used to make the drawing are both thick and pliant, thereby resulting in a soft look on the paper. Similarly, through the use of graphite and gouache, Marie-Louise McHugh achieves a soft and sensual effect in her drawings of nudes. And finally, the large Bob Smith (1944-1990) pieces combine a variety of drawing techniques, resulting in works, which have both linear architectural elements and soft painterly effects.
Deborah Davis Fine Art located at 345 Warren Street, Hudson, New York The gallery will hold a reception for the artists on Saturday, January 29th from 6-8p.m. is open from 11a.m. to 5p.m. Thursday through Monday. For more information call 518 822 1890.
Ken Orton, gallery owner of Windingbrook, is taking a winter break to his former home in Spain and has turned over most of his gallery space to two colleagues while he is away. Through February 13, the diverse work of Sara Gilbert and John Hopkins share the gallery walls with Mr. Orton’s paintings for a dynamic exhibit of three contrasting artistic visions.
Sara Gilbert’s highly textured mixed media orchid paintings are evocative of jungle undergrowth and subliminal thought processes. Her superbly rendered flowers have the precision of 17th century botanicals. The integration of icons, orchids and old photographs create a visual mythology, a personal history of the human condition.
John Hopkins’ landscapes express an intimate relationship between the artist and the land. The paintings are of the Catskill Mountains as filtered through his eye and mind. Whether the image is open land and richly textured skies or rock ledges in winter, there is a use of color, texture and brushwork that is distinctly his own.
The gallery will be open on Fridays in the afternoon. It is located in Binnekill Square, Main Street, Margaretville, NY. Please call 845 586 2227 for more information.
The Inquiring Mind Gallery in Saugerties will host Wilma Ervin: Auto Graphic Retrospective from February 6 through March 7, with an artist reception on Saturday February 13 from 5 to 7 pm.
This retrospective exhibition features the innovative and diverse works of Wilma Ervin, a working artist for over 50 years. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s painting and design school, Ervin has shown her paintings, photographs and assemblage art throughout Europe and the United States. Featured in the show are four major series of Ervin’s work. Her unique color photographs of Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the early 1980's were published in the book On The Edge, with an introduction by Andy Warhol. Another collection of Ervin’s photography documents the alien and surreal landscape of abandoned junk car lots. Ervin’s colorful paintings of this autoworld interpose images of Renaissance angels and twisted and decaying cars. Ervin’s trompe l’oeil boxes are whimsical and artful combinations of collage, painting and design.
While Ervin’s work has spanned a variety of media, genre and subject matter, it is always infused with her passion for life and her unique visual eye. Audiences have enjoyed Ervin’s solo exhibitions in London, Mougins (France), New York City, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and throughout New England. Ervin currently resides in Woodstock, NY.
The Inquiring Mind Gallery is located at 65 Partition Street in Saugerties. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday 11:30 am to 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday 12 to 6:00 pm. For more information, call the gallery at 845 246 5155.
“Resurrection Song,” oil on canvas by Natalia Pohrebinska at Roshkowska Galleries
Through February 26, the Roshkowska Galleries in Windham will present paintings and sculpture by Natalia Pohrebinska. The highlight of this exhibition is her recent painting The Resurrection Song, a poetic evocation of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution of 2004.
Although Natalia matured as a painter in the New York School of Action Painting, her childhood images come from Ukraine, where she was born. Her native homeland, combined with her love for nature remains constant in her work.
Natalia has said about her work that “Abstract Expressionism is to painting what jazz is to music. Both are about improvisation and meditation through which I better understand space, time and the relationship of things. Painting, as such, opens doors within and spotlights images, as in dreams. I do not see the canvas, I see through the canvas. Paint is my pool of deep waters. Visual intelligence is my guide and pilot. My eyes do the thinking. My mind observes as I reach for my subconscious. For me, art is another reality—a mystic experience. It is a search beyond the obvious, the known, through the unfamiliar to a new awareness of integrity, which has a light and a function of its own.”
Natalia is a graduate of Pratt Institute with a Master of Fine Arts degree. She studied with painters Richard Linder, George McNeil, Robert Richenberg and Bud Plate; with sculptors Alexander Archipenko and Calvin Albert, and with graphic artist Jack Landau. From 1959 to 1963, she taught painting at the Pratt Institute. From 1963 to 1964, under President Kennedy’s cultural exchange program, she painted and lectured at the U.S.I.A. Graphic Arts exhibition in Moscow. She has exhibited in solo and group shows in the United States, Ukraine, Russia and Canada. For the last 30 years, she has lived and shown at The Stone House in Lexington, New York.
The Roshkowska Galleries are located at 5338 Main Street in Windham. Hours are Friday through Monday, from 12 to 5 pm. For more information, call them at 518 734 9669.