“Recent Paintings and Drawings”
The title for this show might just as well have been “Upstate.” If there is an underlying theme of yearning in this work, it is probably because this New York City based landscape painter gathers most of her imagery while visiting friends in the country. Many of the recent works on paper were done in and around Hudson.
The paintings in this show mark a return to “plein air” studies as a primary source, and I am pleased to be able to show the paintings and drawings together. There is a stronger sense of place in the drawings, which often serve as a kind of visual diary. The Three views from Mt. Merino were made over a period of weekend sojourns. Drawn from the same spot at different times of day, they focus on shifting light and the colors of late afternoon. With Olana just down the road, it is impossible not to give a nod to the Hudson River School. Both Mt. Merino paintings were done back in the studio, where the subject became more about the physical act of painting. Pond near Trumansburg recalls a farmhouse pond in the heat of summer. Flattened out by the midday sun, trees and water are described mostly by the shimmer of light.
Interspersed with the landscapes are some works on paper which at first appear to be abstract blocks of color. These diptychs are drawn from life and are closely observed. The subject of the blue diptychs is a morning glory, its surface, color and sheen at different times of day. This work is also about the joy of being intensely in the moment. Watermelon is a bit more obvious, with the skin of the fruit depicted on the left and its flesh on the right. I’m currently working on a group of drawings called “Green Market.”
Drawing is for me the most direct form of visual expression. It enables me to interpret my experiences and observations, to question preconceptions, tap into my subconscious and reinvent my decision making process. Whether my subject matter originates in the ship breaking yards of India, in memories of rural England, or the vast open spaces of the American West, drawing is my foundation, free from the physical realities and practical restraints implicit in sculpture making.
Sculpture demands a different rigor and spatial understanding than drawing and yet the two languages often inform one another. The marks and images, narratives and abstractions that I generate in two dimensions are frequently the genesis of sculptural ideas. The works represented in this exhibition are an attempt to bring the experience of sculpture closer to that of drawing by releasing the potential energy and life that is often restricted in an inert material such as steel. I am searching for a pliant and plastic geometry to imbue the density and rigidity of steel with a new three-dimensional poetry.
The Carriage House:
There are five separate shows within the carriage house: Ground Floor - Group of Gallery Sculptors (Ben Butler, John Van Alstine, Renee Iacone Clearman,
This group of small paintings of hands is a continuation of "hand- print” paintings I have made for several years. The shape is an outline of my own hand that I made years ago but the image comes from a fresco by Fra Angelico in the cloister of San Marco titled, "The Mocking of Christ". I first saw this painting in an art history class in college and the instructor, Maurice Bonds, pointed out the disembodied heads and hands engaged in mocking the figure of Christ and said this was the first "surreal painting".
The simple composition, one organic shape with geometric divisions, is an armature to experiment with some different color possibilities, and hopefully some new discoveries. There are different surface finishes, some of the paintings are glazed to a deep rich darkness and others are dry like stone.
The hand shape brings some narrative content that is subjective in the sense that it is hard to discern if the image is threatening or comforting. I enjoy this ambiguity and consider it essential to the painting.
Joseph Haske, 2008
Marjorie Van Dyke:
The paintings in this exhibition are the product of the last two and a half years of work. Van Dyke continues to explore the process of making art. Her paintings are intense and dense, with visible evidence of the progression (and digression) of the image by means of the accretion and erosion of paint. There is a visible tension in the paintings, a struggle between the formal and the chaotic.
Van Dyke has a keen interest in art history, and her paintings reflect her continuing dialogue with the art of the past. Van Dyke lived in Rome for several years, and travels frequently to Europe.
Renaissance and Baroque painting has had a profound influence on her work, she has absorbed the richness of colors and dramatic presentation, as well as a sense of craft and the excitement of visual complexity.
The paintings are all satu
rated with color and nuance, the products of glazing, sanding, and reglazing resulting in rich primary colors and the intense depths of their complements, creating a garden of earthly delights. The compositions border on the chaotic, with the spaces pushing and pulling against each other, but with a subtle, almost subliminal sense of formalism that both holds the painting together, and provides a palpable tension.
This selection of intimate scale paintings from the past decade is reflective of the concerns and formal interests of my work in general. They are material and process driven, made with resins, oils and dry pigments. Some are structural, resolving themselves geometrically, while others are more muscular in their painterly form. Through my own scraping, adding freshly mulled pigment and then using an electric sander to excavate back to the canvas surface, they go through a process of addition and subtraction. Revision is ongoing until their logic captures my attention and urges them into being.
Mark Saltz, 2008