Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wright, Buck, D'Acquisto and Kennedy

Russell Wright Design Center; Garrison, NY 
Russel Wright

This past weekend I took a ride up north along the Hudson River and made a few great discoveries.  In Garrison, NY I came across the Russell Wright Design Center and Manitoga Preserve.  I have to admit that I don't know much about Russell Wright, but his house is very beautiful.  It's nestled into nature along side a quarry adjacent to the nature preserve.  The structure reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture and Howard Roark's (the godly architect in Ayn Rand's book "The Fountain Head" which is one of my favorite books).  If I too could someday live in a nook in the Hudson River Valley or Adirondacks and have a home and studio immersed in nature it would be a dream come true.  Anxiety about my career, or how I want to finish a painting, or how I'm going to pay rent all slip away.  I always get the sensation of being at peace with death while in nature; it's there that death seems natural and beautiful.  I regain my senses, my ego loosens its hold on my heart and mind, and I feel free from all the nonsense that we spend so much time fussing over in our everyday lives.

Garrison Art Center

My next stop was the Garrison Art Center in Garrison, NY and then the Marina Gallery in Cold Spring, NY.  Both places are excellent venues for art, but more impressive than the spaces were the exhibitions they were showing.  Deborah Buck's retrospective "Inside Out" presents work that span twenty years of her painting career.  The press release reads:  "Now living and working in New York City, Buck is originally from Baltimore and credits her early artistic and intellectual development to her encounters with the legendary Abstract Expressionist painter Clyfford Still." 
In her artist statement she says:  "These paintings are fractured fairytales--dark explorations of the messy, in-between stages of moving through life. I’m interested in the fables that have been passed along to children since the beginning of time, and how archetypal, oft-idealistic narratives tend to shift and fall apart as time passes.  The language of storytelling—colloquialisms, old wives’ tales, ironic turns of phrase—interest me as a means of developing cultural mythologies. These alleged truisms, along with an interest in psychoanalytic and surrealist tropes, inform the stark, yet playful narratives that drive my work."
I was initially attracted to her work because of the bold and curious semi-familiar/representational forms in her mixed media drawings and oil paintings.  The texture and layering in these works give them character; the size of them is just large enough; and the mix of 3D rendering with 2D mark-making gives these works a primitive or naive look (which I'm a huge fan of).  The only thing that I find distracting is her use of glitter.  Sure, she uses it sparingly but it give these works a crafty/decorative feel that disrupts my contemplation of them.  You can see more of her work on her website (http://www.deborahbuck.com).

My wife who I made stand next to one of Deborah's paintings

Marina Gallery; Cold Spring, NY
Tim D'Acquisto and Grace Kennedy, husband and wife, had a joint show at Marina Gallery.  I couldn't contain myself when I first saw Tim's work from the window.  And once I was in the gallery Grace's work put its spell on me.  Both artists work in oil paint and work in a relatively small size.  However, only Grace refers to the real world in her work, first working on site and then working from a photo, and sometimes revisiting the site.  Her work is so modest and authentic... just the way I like it.  Almost every painting features Indian Point Energy Center; a nuclear power plant build on a fault line just south of Peekskill on the Hudson River.  But the amazing thing about her work is that she strays from beautifying the plant (turning the ugly into something pretty) while avoiding accentuating the ugliness of the plant.  She is simply painting this subject because she loves the form and shape of it in relation to the environment that it is in. 

 Grace Kennedy

Add caption

Tim's work is curious because the plain chairs, tables, and other household items he paints in his minimal compositions don't come from his living room or kitchen but rather they come from his imagination.  Again, the work is intimate (do to small size) and charming; it has a way of pulling you in and holding you there.  I can't get enough of his banal subject matter and overly simplified forms and shapes... they totally turn me on.  His art is similar to my own, and one thing that I think we both focus on is a kind of existential tension.  He puts us face to face with one or two common objects painted flat on canvases that sometimes only contain three or four colors.  The viewer is left in confrontation with shapes and forms of things we never think twice about.  But what is it that makes this cup or that chair worthy of our time/contemplation?  That's the magic in works like Tim D'Acquisto's.

Tim D'Acquisto

No comments:

Post a Comment