I recently had the pleasure to chat with artist Randall Reid on the occasion of his new show at the William Campbell Contemporary. The show, Resurrected Dreams: Cowboys, Aliens & Espionage, runs through June 6. [More...]
With an unexpected phone call from the White House, Richard Blanco recently became the newest of just four Inaugural poets in the history of America. In the exquisite company of the likes of Robert Frost and Maya Angelou, he is the youngest, the first Latino, and the first openly gay poet to have this honor. [More...]
The decade between the end of the Great War and the beginning of America’s Great Depression was a time of great artistic renaissance in war-torn Europe. During those magical few years, American expatriate writers F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, James Joyce, and John Dos Passos lived and worked shoulder-to-shoulder with European art superstars Pablo Picasso, Fernand Leger, Georges Braque, and Natalia Goncharova. Completing the small circle of dedicated Paris-based friends were composers Cole Porter, Eric Satie, and Igor Stravinsky, playwright Philip Barry, poets Ezra Pound and Archibald MacLeish, the members of the ballet company Ballet Russes, and photographer Man Ray. The unlikely glue – the community hub - that brought these young bright artists together was a young American couple living well on a modest inherited income: Gerald and Sara Murphy. [More...]
Explosions of color and expression are de rigueur for painter Henry Finkelstein. His sixth solo exhibition at Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden in north Dallas opened last weekend with their annual garden party and runs throughout May. What better place to see gorgeous art than Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden in full bloom? Make sure to allow yourself enough time to leisurely stroll the gardens – it’s truly one of the most beautiful places in town to view sculpture outdoors.
Larre, Yellow and Blue
Henry Finkelstein is a plein-air landscape painter in the best of the tradition. His landscapes capture the lush gardens, houses, and vistas of both Maine and the Brittany region of France, where he spends summers painting. Finkelstein paints with an immediacy that feels as if you saw the scene with him, a decisive frenzy to get it on the canvas, and a revealing honesty. When the gardens aren’t blooming, he paints luscious large still life paintings in his Brooklyn studio.
The Mill at Larre
His French landscapes are timeless – they could easily have been painted a hundred years ago. Viewing them takes you immediately to France. Larre, Yellow and Blue documents a yellow house with a blue roof on an impossibly beautiful sunny day. Finkelstein paints with pure color mixed on his palette rather than on the canvas. That certainty speaks to a master colorist: it’s like the talent of a one-take singer. The Mill at Larre gives the artist a chance to show water reflections and this one is a beauty of pinks and greens and blues. The clouds reflected in the water are stunning. Dead center is a dark green and white flowering bush curving over the water. Combined with the reflection of the curve, it creates a ball of white flowers as a final resting place for your eye. Finkelstein allows us to see some of his process – he makes no attempt to hide all of the charcoal under drawing with paint. Walled Garden III is an example of a technique the artist uses to create space with color. Without using typical perspective cues, Finkelstein has painted a scene we could walk into – the depth created almost solely with his color.
Walled Garden III
And then we have Henry Finkelstein’s still life paintings. His talent with light and color glows indoors while bouncing about around his fashioned tableau. As beautiful as these paintings photograph, you must stand in front of them to truly see them. Still Life with Pomegranates is one of his best and the blues, yellows, oranges and teals absolutely sing with delight. Notice the quality of the brushstrokes of the blue wall. It's as if he’s painting with light. Finkelstein often uses the classical technique of including a mirror in his still life paintings - and in the mirror we might see a window. Paintings as a window to the artist’s world? Absolutely – and in the very best sense.
Still Life with Pomegranates
(images courtesy Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden)
Venerable artist Roger Winter shows new oil portraits and a decade or more of collage and photomontage works at Kirk Hopper Fine Art this month. His ease working in various media and with various levels of abstraction is demonstrated beautifully.
The show contains three large new oil portraits - a favorite subject for Winter. Self Portrait, a dramatically side-lit introspection, reveals a visage that is curious, inquisitive, and youthful despite its number of birthdays. Jaye Murray is a five-foot tall profile portrait of a proud woman in a hat and coat. Winter’s palette is deliciously dark with lots of warm black working perfectly here. Profile portraits generally aren’t very revealing – we can’t see the subject’s eyes or expression – but Winter tells us everything we need to know about Jaye with the set of her jaw, her shoulders, and the angle of her hat. The final painting is Monty Arnold, a more traditional portrait composition than the other two. The hook in this painting is a bright sun shining in a window on the subject’s face and hair, illuminating both to bright white. Sunshine reflecting off the winter snow emits the kind of light Winter has captured here. It’s a stunning contrast to the other two darker portraits in the show and reveals the artist’s easy mastery of the effects of light on the human face.
The surface texture of Winter’s paintings is so interesting – it’s a confusion of short flittering brushstrokes scarred with bits of paint skin that have begun to dry on his palette. Nonetheless, the overall effect he achieves is both realistic and just painterly enough to be interestingly complex. Winter paints age with grace and honesty, and without a touch of sentimentality. The three faces in this show have seen years, but have a beauty and individuality that is undeniable.
Winter’s photomontages, which date from the 1960s, 1970s, and from the past decade are small signature studies. Often with that central moon or a figure walking away from the viewer, Winter creates a story with so little. Viewers will feel all the loneliness, the mystery, and the universality of subject in these images.
Old Swedish Man
Finally, the wonderful collage portraits, based on quick sketchbook drawings in New York, where he resides part of the year, remind us how abstract Winter can work and still express personality. These are little character studies created with cut painted paper: with just a few shapes, a portrait emerges. My favorite is another profile portrait, this one a man wearing a stocking cap, Old Swedish Man. Here, we get ample detail in the subject’s posture and the few features Winter chooses to portray.
(images courtesy Kirk Hopper Fine Art)