A Nod to the Past
Mark Beard, Bruce Murphy, David Halliday & James O'Shea
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 19th, 6-8pm
July 14, 2014
through August 24, 2014
Carrie Haddad Gallery is pleased to present "A Nod to the Past", an exhibit featuring new paintings by Mark Beard, photographs by David Halliday, and abstract works by Bruce Murphy and James O'Shea. The show will be on view July 17th through August 24th with a reception for the artists on Saturday, July 19th from 6-8pm. All are welcome to attend.
The prolific artist, Mark Beard, has built his reputation on falsified history and multiple fictitious personas. Beard has instilled each artistic personality in art history by developing impeccably detailed biographies, bodies of work complete with noted provenances, and portrait photographs to match. In addition to becoming an excellent storyteller, the variety found in each character's oeuvre has enabled the artist to work in a diversity of styles and mediums.
Beard has chosen a different path with his most recent work by painting as himself rather than one of his invented characters. Instead of fabricating history, he is acknowledging it as it truly happened by basing his new landscapes on glass-plate negatives taken by his great-grandfather, George Beard. George was firstly a painter, but his collection of photographs, taken while he lived in Utah in the 1880's, captured the pristine American West in its pure form. These photographs remind Beard of the many summers spent on his great-grandfather's retreat which was spotted with log cabins, artificial ponds, rustic bridges, and George's mysterious log studio. Although he died long before Mark reached childhood, his artistic presence became an everlasting inspiration.
Beard's landscapes featured in the exhibit provide the viewer with a portal into America's past, a time when the country's expansion westward was believed to be manifest destiny. This commanding series first captured through the lens of George Beard and then with the brush of his great-grandson, displays the grandeur of the West's impressive mountain ranges, bustling rivers, cascading waterfalls, and expansive canyons in a style reminiscent of the painters of the Hudson River School. When in the presence of this work, one is instantly reminded of the spirit felt by a young America waiting to be discovered.
Mark Beard has exhibited with Carrie Haddad Gallery for almost twenty years. In addition to being a painter, Beard is a noted stage designer and is also well known for his drawings, prints and sculpture. His work is featured in many significant collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art. Beard's work as his most popular character, Bruce Sargeant, has been installed in several Abercrombie & Fitch stores worldwide.
Photographer David Halliday is celebrated as a “purist behind the lens” and reveals the beauty of his subjects in a pictorial style. His warm, sepia toned images could be better likened to a painting rather than a crisp, documentary styled photograph. Manipulations and cropping to the negative conducted in a darkroom allow Halliday to transform classic elements into something more contemporary. Selections from the recent series, "Threadbare" include sepia toned silver gelatin prints as well as colored archival pigment prints. Both methods demonstrate the artist's ability to animate still lifes through texture, pattern, alluring forms and color, and the patina of everyday use.
Inspired by a discarded map the artist found in the upstairs of his 1880s residence in New Orleans, Halliday eternalizes discarded objects such as old fishing nets, rope and fishing bobbers, offering a more noble perspective of objects utilized by the rural fishing industry. By adding collage to the framework, Halliday shares his emotional response to the lost past-time of American traditions in a time where corporate and outsourced industry reigns king. "It’s exciting when you discover something, often exhausted of its value or intent, and are able to give it new life as a photograph." Halliday currently lives and works in New Orleans and spends his summers on Nantucket. He has been exhibiting with Carrie Haddad Gallery since 1991.
Another featured artist, working with a unique application of collage is non-representational painter, James O'Shea. His compositions of layered colors and shapes, seeming architectural and yet organic, are inspired by O'Shea's experiences near his studio on the Hudson River. O'Shea’s interest in the energy surrounding nature's changing of seasons is clear as each color and shape come to represent a particular time of day or year. An island of trees will be recorded into his art as a mass of green; a loon flying in the summer sky becomes a brushstroke of brilliant orange. Distant noises in the forest are later translated into faint blurs of oil paint. James O'Shea lived in London where he studied at the City and Guilds of London Art School. He later majored in printmaking at the University of London. The artist now divides his time between Manhattan and the Hudson Valley.
Contemporary painter Bruce Murphy presents a new series of abstractions painted in 2013 and 2014. Murphy's materials of choice are enamel paint, metallic powders and gold leaf which he layers onto pieces of copper, paper or wood. These surfaces are later unearthed when the artist scratches into the multiple blankets of color. A harmony of shades and tones reminiscent of distant horizons and vibrant sunsets are exposed, revealing an energetic yet poetic composition of color. Murphy cites Pierre Bonnard, founding member of the Post-Impressionist group Les Nabis, as a major artistic influence for his illusory use of chromatics. Bruce Murphy graduated from the Parson's School of Design with a BFA in painting. He later worked as a graphic designer for various publications such as House and Garden. Murphy then opened the very popular restaurant China Rose following his move to Rhinecliff, NY. He currently devotes himself full time to his art.