Arts

John Greene is a master of color. He is also a master of most of the other visual arts including sculpture, collage and mixed media. But dazzling colors are what first strikes you at the entrance to the Millbrook School’s Warner Gallery where an exhibition of some 20 of Green’s paintings opens on Saturday April 11.   Arrayed along the far wall of the gallery as you enter are four six by four foot panels - one a deep burgundy, one a rich sable brown, another a glowing lapis lazuli and the last a shade of crimson fit for royalty.

While pursuing a successful career on Wall Street, Greene worked as a sculptor and painter during his free time before retiring in 1987 to devote himself to art. Today, he says, he works in much the same manner he began - “within my own head rather than from models or from still life or from actual landscapes. I found myself creating my own reality, painting imagined rather than real landscapes, recreating long-forgotten images and vistas...In every case, I have taken an idea and then both developed it and allowed the work itself to guide me.”

The exhibition in the upstairs gallery at Merritt Book this month is comprised of works by the gifted art students in the Millbrook Central School district. Formats including painting, watercolor, drawing, collage as well as sculpture are remarkable for the imagination and talent shown by all the classes from Kindergarten through high school. 

Exuberant color distinguishes many of the paintings but there are several examples of lovely black and white images notably three delicate drawings of feathers by Eliza Butterick, Brianna Wrightsman and Shannon Bohlun. There are over 100 works – far too many to include all that deserve mention here. 

840 drawing by Shannon Bohlen

A smattering of those I admired were Kiri di Cinto’s fanciful painting of a green parrot eyeing a cup filled with a smoothie that he clearly wants to taste. 

Several images of dinosaurs colored and etched on metal display a range of personalities. Some are humorous, some are fierce, and a couple would be worthy companions for Daenerys Targaryen in her quest for the Iron Crown.

841 dragons by Carson Dallan

The Volta art show moved from lofts in SOHO to Pier 90 where 90 galleries are each showing one artist.  Again, the galleries are from around the world, as are the artists. They are all in the “affordable” range, mostly under $30,000 and many good sized paintings are half that.  The artists are not emerging from the womb; they are seasoned to the point that they know what they are doing and they know how to do it.  My sense was that these artists show power, discipline, a mastery of technique, the result of a juried process that works. The open spaces makes for a simplicity of layout that was not possible in the confined spaces of the SOHO building where VOLTA started in 2008. It is also noteworthy that most of these works could be hung on a wall: most were paintings and most used old-fashioned paint, or ink.

The winter exhibition at the Morrison Gallery in Kent shows paintings by Vincent Inconiglios and sculptures by Insun Kim and Leah Durner.

Inconiglios’s three large paintings in acrylic on canvas plus two walls of smaller works in acrylic on paper are from his “Donut Series.” The series, which he has been working on for the past ten years, depicts circles in seductive colors and unusual combinations that float on the surface. Some resemble luscious lollipops, others eyes wide open, perhaps in surprise. As their title implies, many are simply doughnuts, albeit expensive ones.

835

Inconiglios had his first one-man exhibition in SoHo, in 1972. He was one of the featured artists of “10 Downtown.” Today he divides his time between his loft and studio in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan and Falls Village.

Leah Durner's works in poured enamel on canvas consist of swirling abstract patterns that, according to her artist’s statement, have their roots “in the exuberance of the Baroque and Rococo as well as in the modernist tradition of abstraction.”

836 bluebeigegreen pour

From Monday, March 16, until the end of April, the Off the Wall Gallery at the Millbrook Free Library is exhibiting 12 pastels by Ralph Della-Volpe.  

Mr. Della-Volpe bases his paintings on what he observes in the natural world.  He begins with a series of drawings and sketches in both black-and-white and color. He explores the light, forms, values, relationships and colors of his subject before transcribing those elements into a composition “that elicits an emotional sensation and excites me.” He tries to see beneath the literal details, to discover qualities he wants to develop or explore in his final composition.

What is most striking about Della-Volpe’s work is his use of color. Although he chooses tones that in some cases may be perhaps a little brighter than those found in the real world, they always seem perfectly natural. Even the pale shades of a work like “River Reflections” seem to glow on the surface of the paper, in shimmery blues, greens, lavenders and apricots. Although he treats his subjects—landscapes and still lifes, for the most part—in an impressionistic manner, he never fails to convey their essential nature.  

Twenty-five years ago Fran, daughter of manager Frank Mullins of the Poughkeepsie Pioneers, was brutally murdered. There can have been no doubt about it. After all, shortly after she was killed, a number of the players and staff of this minor-league baseball team saw her corpse lying in the dugout on the third-base line of War Memorial Stadium. 

The man suspected of her murder was acquitted by a jury so long ago that most people involved have forgotten about it. Many hoped it might remain forgotten—until Anastasia Baker, an up-and-coming reporter from the Poughkeepsie Examiner (and daughter of the owner of both the paper and the Pioneers) starts asking questions as she pursues a rumor that Fran may not be dead after all.

It seems that Fran had been intimate with more than a few members of the team—as well as with a number of unsavory characters who might have welcomed her demise. In no time a series of murders occurs, and the plot thickens as the story hurtles to its conclusion.

Over the course of five days Piers 92 and 94 are divided into hundreds of galleries housing one of the world’s top art shows. Galleries come from around the world to show their favorite holdings or showcase their favorite artists.

On Thursday, March 6th I trekked through the thickly falling snow to the piers where art has replaced the great ships of Cunard.  Upon entering Pier 92 I realized that this was going to take time.  I saw sculptures by Stella, sketches by Picasso and a Sol LeWitt in almost every other booth. I decided to focus on the art that interested me the most.  I would be drawn to the art dealing with the African Diaspora.  Suddenly the never-ending grid of galleries became less daunting and more of an adventure.  I searched for the most prominent pieces of art depicting the black experience or by the most prominent black artists. I was pleased by what I found. 

Many people—himself included—believed that Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the best architects of the twentieth century, if not of any age. 

History itself has confirmed that assessment. In 1991 the American Institute of Architects named Wright the greatest American architect of all time. The professional magazine Architectural Record included 12 Wright structures in its list of the one hundred most important buildings of the previous century. Twenty-five of Wright’s projects are National Historic Landmarks.

817 a pool in front of the garden room

With the exception of the Guggenheim, I knew of Wright’s work only from photographs of his legendary buildings: Falling Waters, the Robie House, and the Johnson Wax building, to name but a few. So when I happened to be in Scottsdale, Arizona, a few weeks ago, I took the opportunity to visit Taliesin West, the winter quarters of Wright’s school, to see for myself an important example of his work.

815 rocs from the surrounding desert were used to build the walls

To be considered for the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center’s winter exhibition, “Large-Scale Paintings from the Permanent Collection,” each work had to be at least five feet high or wide. Several of the 19 paintings—by such well known artists as Milton Avery, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Mark Rothko and Lawrence Poons—are even larger. Half of the works in the show are by women, among them Nancy Graves, Grace Hartigan, Agnes Martin and Joan Mitchell.  

 

When Margaret Miller curated the 1947 exhibition “Large-Scale Modern Paintings” at MoMA, she wrote, “Big pictures at their best are assertions of the artist’s self-confidence and aesthetic conviction, affirmations of his belief in the importance of painting itself.”   Since then, scale has become as important in painting as color, line, shape and pattern.

814 Neil Welliver

A collection of more than 90 hooked rugs by members of the Dutchess County Rug Hookers Guild may be seen at the Stanford Grange from Friday, November 21, through Sunday, November 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. These colorful pieces come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and designs. There are animals both wild and domestic, traditional early American motifs, landscapes and some abstract patterns. Some of the rugs resemble paintings; others are more primitive and “ruglike.” All are distinguished by the “hookers’” splendid sense of color and design. 

I especially liked Robin Ventres’s rug depicting a barnyard scene with a black-faced sheep, a crow, chickens and their chicks, along with two pumpkins. Sarah Jones had hooked a rug for her niece, Anna, whom she showed standing near her house beside a waterfall. Most remarkable was a fox, by Trish Helmer of Stanfordville, that was so detailed it might have been created with paint rather than with wool. 

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