August 27: “August Flowers,” the new exhibition at the James Barron Gallery in Kent, is a joyful celebration of that time of year when gardens reach their peak before the onset of Autumn.

The show is comprised of paintings, drawings, and photographs by 24 artists including Richard Diebenkorn, Francesco Clemente, Fairfield Porter, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol. “Flowers serve a metaphor and are used in oblique and surprising ways by contemporary artists,” says James Barron. “They mark time as does the month August and loom large even when they occupy a proportionally small place in an artwork.”

Throughout the exhibition flowers appear in many guises. Richard Diebenkorn and Cy Twombly depict them as abstractions. Flowers drape themselves sinuously over bodies in a photograph by Sally Mann and a painting by Francesco Clemente. There are four screenprints by Andy Warhol: two of white poinsettias, one against a black background and the other against a red; and two of brightly colored blooms against a tangle of leaves.

1131 "The Alchemist" by Francesco Clemente 1994

August 13: In his main gallery in Kent Robert Ober is showing paintings by David Eddy. The artist, who lives and works in West Stockbridge, MA., says he strives to “marry realism and painterly abstraction” in his work. Although his figures are semi abstract he tries to “focus on the facial expressions and emotional content” of his subjects. Eddy works in acrylic but lays on the paint in multiple layers which he rubs, scratches and smears to enhance their tactile quality.  

1117 Vacation Rental by David Eddy

In “Vacation Rental” he depicts two cottages overlooking the sea or perhaps a lake. Three brightly colored kites float in the breeze above chairs and umbrellas that are set out in a field. “Girl with Flower,” like many of his paintings, is moody and mysterious. The girl – or I would say woman – stares at us from the canvas with an inscrutable expression. It is impossible to tell what she may be thinking or feeling.

1118 Girl with Flower by David Eddy

August 13:  The new show at the Cooper Finn Gallery on Front Street features paintings, drawings and sculpture made from recycled materials by six artists from around the Hudson Valley. 

Some of Simon Berson’s large works – both his wall sculptures as well as those that are free standing – call to mind some of Lee Bontecou’s early work. Using recycled pieces of machinery he has created what appear to be engines that might drive machines of his own invention. More delicate are Fay Wood’s smaller sculptures made of polished pieces of wood enhanced with metal cogs and wheels.

1115 Wall sculpture by Fay Wood

I especially liked Annette Jaret’s two collages from her Spirit Dancing series. In her artist’s statement she says, “the series began with photos which I painted, cut and pasted…to achieve texture which I couldn’t achieve with photos or paint.”  In one of her pieces she has pasted long ribbons of colored paper in parallel lines against a pale background. The effect is that of an exotic piece of textured fabric.

1116 Origami by Judy Malstrom

August 12: We received a guided tour of the new installation at the Re Institute this week from gallery owner, Henry Klimowicz.  It is sometimes difficult to take in the full spectrum of artists work during an an opening when one’s attention is distracted by conversation.  Henry’s insights brought the work to life for us.

We revisited Moira Kelly’s array of new work.  Kelly is a decorative artist, a trained art restorer as well as a fine artist.  She has done art restoration for many posh institutions and individuals, including the Frick Collection and the Metropolitan Museum.  Her deft knowledge of materials informs her work.  We were greeted by two pieces called “Marquet” and “Parquet” that simulate advanced forms of inlay.  

The two works are on iroko wood with plaster and tempera that is delicately sealed with wax.  Other pieces are made to look like linoleum, with fanciful names such as “The Rich Lady’s Linoleum,” and “The Posh Lady’s Bathroom.”  Still other panels with Venetian plaster feature elongated hexagons with metallic paint.

1107 Moira Kelly's #19 & #20

August 8: Walk up to the second floor of the Madison Avenue gallery of Dominique Lévy and you will find a sight that needs explanation. You will be confused.  You will see a floor crowded with white sculpted figures.  You will notice that some of the figures are of a sitting or standing Buddha.  He is smiling.  He seems happy to see you.  Other figures, if you look closely, look like snowmen. Yet others are of animals.  They are all cut of white marble, which we learned from an attractive gallerist who came to our rescue that the marble is from Vietnam. 

1106 One Sun One Moon Banner1 by Peter Regli

August 2, 2015

 “There’s no such thing as perfection” may be a valid observation, but on Sunday afternoon a full house at Music Mountain was offered proof to the contrary.  The Penderecki Quartet joined by Matt Haimovitz were as near perfect in concert as this reviewer has heard in many a year.

It started with Bach’s Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor that Matt played in soft dulcet tones modulated to round out the sharp edges one sometimes hears in this piece. One had the impression he was playing for us, not for a muse nor for an imagined composer, but for us. The stately passages made us feel in the presence of majesty; he revealed the music as if he was liberating it; it floated across the sound waves as if it has always existed – he was just the instrument that sent it on its way with care and affection. The impression was one of exquisite lightness.  This was not the playing of some ancient piece but the creation of a gem that shone its many facets with brilliance.   

1094 Matt Haimowitz

Van Gogh and Nature, a superb exhibition devoted to the artist’s lifelong interest in the natural world, can be seen at the Clark Museum in Williamstown until September 13. The almost 50 works, some familiar and others not, on loan from collections both here and abroad give a vivid picture of Van Gogh’s development as an artist. 

Although he had often drawn for pleasure it was not until he was in his late twenties that he became serious about his art. His painting The Parsonage Garden in Snow, done in 1885 while he was still living at his parents’ home in the Netherlands, is a study in muted browns, greens, and grays. The patches of bare earth beneath their tattered covering of snow evoke the damp and cold of winter near the North Sea.

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Boscobel, although not without its faults, makes for a fun evening.

The big white tent with its open arch overlooking Constitution Marsh and the Hudson River is the perfect setting for this bucolic play. Every few moments a train could be seen going up or down the west bank of the river, while as the performance continued the moon slowly rose in the night sky.

HVSF was founded 1987 with an outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Manitoga, home of industrial designer Russell Wright, in Garrison, NY. The following year, Boscobel House and Gardens agreed to host the company’s season under a tent on the estate’s grounds. Since then the company has entertained some 500,000 patrons. 

For reasons best known to himself, director Eric Tucker opted to limit his cast to five members – three men and two women – who between them performed the more than twenty parts usually played by different actors. This made for some confusion. 

July 25, 2015

The Millbrook Library’s annual exhibition by the Housatonic Camera Club is always worth seeing. This year Diana Bontecou selected two works from the four submitted for consideration by the club members who range from beginners, to advanced amateurs and professionals. The subjects included landscapes, still lifes, and nature. Almost half were in black and white and the rest in color.  

Moby Mudge’s two images were notable. One, of a hay rake sitting in a snowy field, was an abstract design of starkly contrasting black and white.  The other of a stone lying on a beach was a study in textures. The stone, almost the same color as the sand suggested a sea creature in camouflage. Both Karin and Brad Smith’s photographs were also studies of contrasting textures in various shades of gray.

1061 "Hay Rake" by Moby Mudge

Ann Wilkinson chose trees for her subjects. “Snarley Old Tree” depicted the patterns created by the tangle of twigs and branches of a Sycamore tree. In “New Birches” she portrayed the gleaming white trunks of a grove of birch trees standing erect on a small hill. 

1062 "Friend or Enemy" by Birgitt Pajarola

July 23, 2015

Diane Love’s whose work can be seen at the Moviehouse Studio Gallery in Millerton until October 8, says she “started with a box of Crayola Crayons at the age of three. “

The 45 pieces in the exhibition, “Explorations in Art.” reveals the creative progression of Love’s artistic career over 27 years. Although she has worked in a variety of media from oils and watercolors to collage, photography and monoprints, when viewed as a whole, one finds a consistency throughout. Each of the pieces, no matter the technique, is unmistakably the work of Diane Love.

1055 "Arrangement" by Diane Love

Love started in business as a dealer in English, American and Japanese antiques. Her eponymous shop on Madison Avenue was filled with an assortment of objects including marvelous arrangements of silk flowers that reflected her remarkable sense of color and sophisticated taste. 

1057 "Jardin" by Diane Love

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