Published: September 10, 2002
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – “The Luminous Landscape ™ 2002” is the fifth annual contemporary traveling landscape exhibition curated by Albert Shahinian. Through September 30, it is the featured exhibition at the gallery’s new space in Poughkeepsie.
Each year’s show brings together living representational artists whose philosophies, inspirations, techniques and styles, or paintings’ subjects have been influenced by the original Hudson River School or its legacy in subsequent movements in American paintings. Exhibiting artists include many who live and work in the Hudson River region. Additional artists are drawn from the West Coast and elsewhere in the United States.
Subtitled “From Coast to Coast: Exploring Expressive Parallels Between Contemporary Hudson River Painters & Their Non-Regional Peers,” 2002’s show features more than 200 paintings by ten artists from five geographic areas of the country.
From the Hudson Valley region: Christine Debrosky (pastels), Scott Culbreth (oils), Gary Fifer (oils), Lee Haber (oils), Leigh Palmer (encaustics) and Robert Trondsen (oils). Included from out-of-the region: Eline Barclay from Maine (oils and pastels), Karl Dempwolf from California (oils), Ron McGaughey from Washington (oils) and Gary Michael from Colorado (oils).
A primary interest for curator Shahinian is that of drawing compositional, emotive and stylistic parallels between artists from different geographic areas – especially in showing how similar subjects are treated in different lights, terrains and stylistic focuses. Side-by-side presentations in the exhibit give the viewer an opportunity to experience and appreciate those parallels and differences. Types of work on view include paintings done on location, preferably in one sitting; encaustics — paintings using pigmented wax as the medium; and oils and pastels developed on site and/or completed in the studio.
Many of the painters in the original Hudson River School traveled west to chronicle America’s western expansion and the exploration of natural wonders in the Rockies, Sierra Nevada, Painted Deserts and Great Plains. Some stayed on the West Coast to mingle and paint with its regional artists.
The resulting transfer (or cross-pollination) of ideas and techniques enriched the production of artwork and induced important growth within the American artistic community. That many West Coast artists were originally from the East or received their artistic training on the East Coast is also significant in this sharing of ideas and techniques. This legacy is still alive, vibrant and continues to shape artistic expression.
Haber, Fifer, Michael and Dempwolf draw heavy inspiration from the mature styles of East and West Coast Impressionists from the late 1800s through the Arts and Crafts era of the early 1900s. Much of their painting is done on location to heighten the spontaneous, true-to-life feeling in their work. McGaughey’s plein air painting is bolder, more expressionist and essential — attributes that effectively heighten the impact of depicting the stark, open landscape east of the Cascades. Barclay is a consummate “spiritual” artist whose natural realism and poetic tonalism draws power from the philosophies of the later Hudson River School artists and Luminists. Debrosky and Trondsen are contemporary realists with a keen eye for color, composition and radiant surfaces. Culbreth and Palmer explore various approaches to distill a feeling of place that speaks with immediacy and intimacy of experience.
Whether painting the mysterious atmosphere of a coastal marsh at sunset in Maine, the harsh light and shadow in the gorges of eastern Washington, or the play of light on the rocky banks of California’s central coast, these artists attempt to communicate a personal respect for, and scrutiny of, the natural world that is neither sentimental nor contrived.
“The Luminous Landscape” began its 2002 tour last March with a two-month stay at the Museum of the Hudson Highlands in Cornwall, N.Y. In June it moved to the Kaaterskill Gallery at Columbia Greene Community College in Hudson, N.Y. Poughkeepsie is its final destination.
Albert Shahinian Fine Art is at 196 and 198 Main Street, four blocks east from the Metro North/Amtrak train station in Poughkeepsie’s River District. Hours are Thursday to Saturday, noon to 6 pm; Sunday, 1 to 5 pm; and by appointment; 845-454-0522.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm