Bruce Sargeant (and his circle) & Still Life Group Show
Carolou Kristofik, Dale Payson, Craig Johns, David Konigsberg, David Halliday, Margaret Crenson, Eileen Murphy, Judith Wyer, Juan Garcia Nunez, Nick Patten, Ann Getsinger and Lionel Gilbert
Opening reception Saturday December 18, 2010
December 16, 2010
through January 23, 2011
We all share a passion for the beauty of the natural world, and we also share a passion for bringing it all inside with us. Who can resist making arrangements of those precious little things one gathers; perhaps a flowering branch, quinces that will be made into jam later, a bird’s nest on the window sill, or seashells and buttons styled in a favorite basket In this next exhibit at Carrie Haddad Gallery, several of the gallery artists offer an intimate view of their studio world through their personal tableaux of still life.
A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either or man-made. With origins in the Middle Ages and Ancient Greek/Roman art, still life paintings give the artist more leeway in the arrangement of design elements within a composition than do paintings of other types of subjects such as landscape or portraiture.
Traditionally, some of the objects in a still life were likely to have been selected for their symbolic meaning, but this symbolism eludes most modern-day visitors. Cut flowers or a piece of decaying fruit, for instance, symbolism mortality. But a still life painting doesn't have to have symbolism. Cezanne is perhaps the most famous painter of apples simply for the colors, shapes, and perspective possibilities.
Still life developed as a separate category in the Netherlands in the last quarter of the 16th century. When 20th century American artists became aware of European Modernism, they began to interpret still life subjects with a combination of American realism and Cubist-derived abstraction. This exhibit contains both, plus many more personal interpretations of the genre.
Eileen Murphy uses heightened realism to paints her paintbrushes and worktable, and the evening’s dinner of “lobsta” and berry cobbler seen in exaggerated close-up. Margaret Crenson paints her breakfast of toast and eggs (poached or fried) in triptych form. Ann Getsinger paints the small and peculiar. A beautiful ripe orange sits in front of a winter landscape, and a musical one-armed bunny is nostalgic and sadly comical. Carolou Kristofik has an extensive pottery collection which she paints in exquisite detail adding household objects—a paperbag, eggs, teatowel, rubber ducks—for visual play.
Dale Payson uses shots of bright color and thickly applied paint to represent massive arrangements of flowers, bowls of bright red berries and vivid green apples - a sense of armfuls from the garden. Lionel Gilbert’s (1912 – 2002) distilled and elegant world of objects slightly tumbling from the linen covered table combine cubism and abstraction.
Juan Garcia-Nunez created a series of paintings called “Convergences 00:00” in an attempt to link images and ideas. It is a controlled haphazardness of tossing fragments of magazine images into the air and letting them fall onto a table and painting the “stilled” composition they create.
Craig Johns trained as an abstractionist in Europe and at the Hans Hoffman School in Provincetown, MA, but his later work tends toward total naturalism. The still life paintings are about “the pure line” and true color that is almost photographic, against the warm grey and ochre backgrounds.
Judith Wyer has shown her figurative paintings at Carrie Haddad Gallery many times and her new still life work included in this show is quite inventive. Wyer’s small pieces are meant to sit on a shelf or desktop and can be turned around to expose a second still life work on the other side.
Nick Patten’s work is elegant and somber. One of the paintings in the exhibit, “Silver Still Life with Blue” is a serene composition of glassware, linens and stacked plates on a dining table with cool color to further define the mood of stillness.
Showing concurrently, at Carrie Haddad Gallery is an anxiously awaited return visit from painter Mark Beard and his invented persona of Bruce Sargeant and His Circle. All new paintings will be on display from several of the Circle. Of course, many of the paintings will be samples of the most popular of the five personalities, Bruce Sargeant. Athletic young men rowing, climbing ropes, wrestling, and undressing, all seem to be part of a more romantic era from long ago.
The opening reception for both exhibits will take place on Saturday, December 18th from 6-8pm. Come meet the artists and have a glass of wine.
Carrie Haddad Gallery is located at 622 Warren Street in Hudson, NY.
Gallery hours are daily 11-5, closed Wednesday. You can call the gallery at (518) 828-1915 for directions or more information. Or, see the show online at www.carriehaddadgallery.com.