Tracy Helgeson, Robert Koffler, Don Bracken, and Harry Orlyk. Backroom: etchings by Damian Henry and sculpture by Linda Cross

July 30, 2009 through August 30, 2009

August 30, 2009. A reception for the artists will take place on Saturday, August 1st from 6-8 pm. All are welcome to attend.

Harry Orlyk manages to make a fresh statement about the landscape year after year as he captures the changing view in his daily ritual of painting the surrounding farmland. “I hope my paintings can be seen as portraits of days. Each day is a model who will not return tomorrow. To paint even the same place on a second day is to paint a sitter who wasn’t the one who was there yesterday.” His plein-air landscapes have an immediacy that is palpable, the quick sketch rendered in oil on linen, the moment captured.

The luminous and color saturated landscapes by Tracy Helgeson seem to hover between reality and abstraction. “My intent is to capture an evocative feeling and essence of the landscape,” says Helgeson, “the scenes are rooted in reality, but I often alter composition, color and light. I like to juxtapose bold colors and simple compositions with very subtle, delicate layers of color and bits of detail.” Her style of painting is the complete opposite of Orlyk’s. Where Orlyk strives to convey every detail of a particular landscape, Helgeson seeks a more minimal representation. She lessens the number of trees, the amount of detail in a barn, and intensifies the limited palette. Both her very large and her very small paintings are reductions of the visual information at hand and offer the viewer the bare essence of an iconic landscape.

The gallery will be introducing a “new” artist, Robert Koffler with this exhibition. Koffler’s career spans five decades, primarily as an abstract painter, but he now considers himself a “landscape painter”, having moved to the Berkshires and finding new inspiration in site-specific nature. By omitting the details of roads and houses he creates “memory landscapes”, using color and light and shadow and considers the paintings “as places to enter and experience through spaces as well as nature studies”. Koffler lives with his wife in Cheltenham, PA, but his studio is located on Lover’s Lane in Washington, MA.

The gallery’s newest artist, Don Bracken, uses the actual land in his landscapes. He works on-site, taking dirt from the fields and mixing it with limestone, dry pigment and acrylic medium. “I found the dirt more compelling than the colors I was using”, says Bracken, “and working this way helped me experience the fragility and vulnerability of the land.” Bracken’s paintings are dense and earthy, a bit like getting the land in your landscape.

Exhibiting in the back room are artists Linda Cross andDamian Henry. Sculptor Linda Cross has created a monumental wall relief that magnifies the landscape in a very primal way. She takes us into the landscape on a geological level, creating rocks and stones and gravel of a river bed or quarry bottom using the very light and simple materials of paper, oil and acrylic.

Damian Henry exhibits a large series of etchings. Henry is known for his strong contemporary graphic style and direct, honest images that are captured in dynamic drawing and a fresh, simple, spontaneous line. Henry's just-off-centre narratives of young folk at home alone, in busy cafes, bars, out dancing or playing music are refreshing, playful and engaging.

Damian Henry

Donald Bracken

Harry Orlyk

Linda Cross

Robert Steven Koffler

Tracy Helgeson