On Thursday, June 25th, there will be an exhibition of five artists in the Main Galleries, Sculpture Garden and Carriage House. The work will be on display through July 17th with a reception for the artists on Saturday, June 25th from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.
Susanna Heller lives and paints in Brooklyn. She walks every day up and down the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan, wildly sketching the urban landscape.
Heller’s paintings focus on space and movement, offering a constant sense of motion on the canvas. Through her application of color and paint, Heller has spent decades perfecting wind, light, and smoke. Her work brings clarity to the energy, smells and sounds of the city; perspectives are distorted, and cranes sweep across the sky as though holding up the clouds.
Often from a bird’s eye view, we are provided with the moods of an urban atmosphere at the mercy of the natural elements, influenced and changed by dawn or rain, and an accompanying sense of flight or heady vertigo. Heller’s paintings encapsulate entire cityscapes : buildings crowded together below massive weather systems shifting and changing, full of energy and in perpetual turmoil — the eye of a rumbling storm, a swinging crane, a swiftly passing cloud.
Even in her most expressive paintings of sun or storm, the city is always present; it is a distinct reminder of our home and heart and life under the enormity of Heller’s skies.
A painting, like a walk, connects the physical experience: (feet on the ground/paint on the canvas), to movement, energy, and space. Past, present and future are all ignited with each moment of seeing or each step taken. We all live in different ‘nows’, but in a painting, you enter and travel in a multitude of ways at the same moment, a time element that is not linear but cyclical!
In her paintings, Heller reads and depicts the thicks and thins of urban routes. Her visual language is not the real lived experience itself, but through the viewer’s gaze, her paintings suggest participation and reflection on that real lived experience. A painting can bend, stretch and multiply space and time in one place. It can bring that which is invisible or unconscious, unnoticed or unnamed, into the forefront of a seemingly ordinary moment.
Heller paints the high-pitched intensity of cities (mostly New York), through abstract, chaotic masses of paint that explode above and below minimal skylines which she likes to make shift and disappear. These are sourced from hundreds of drawings done on sight during long wanderings on foot throughout the city.
The paintings are about the city, but mostly they are about “the thickness of paint and the ability of the human hand to move it.
Susanna Heller, 2016
Courtesy Olga Korper Gallery & Magnan Metz Gallery
Sculpture Garden & Carriage House, Ground Floor
“My interest in different kinds of structure is in part motivated by a desire to find some piece of truth outside myself which might have meaning for others.
An abstract nod to the admirable role of tribal and pre-Renaissance artists: Makers of art that is a tool for transcendence in a language accessible to all members of their community.
Farm tools, Stonehenge (another farm tool at the least), the natural structure of crystals, plants and the fractal and other mathematical patterns we often find within them. Architectural elements, knitting, African metalwork, Dogon ladders and Nupe house-posts.
These are some of the anonymous sources that have had a great effect on how I work and think. I hope that from observation and practice I have absorbed something about structure that I have been able to incorporate into a dialect that we can share.”
John Crawford, 2016
Courtesy Lori Bookstein Fine Arts
Carriage House. Second Floor
“My work arrives by different methods.Sometimes its driven by direct observation, other times by memory or what might be or as they say in the south,”Might could be”. This kind of folkism is important to me as painterly narratives offer much possibility for imagery. This narrative may be smoky or clear and I’m often guided by the voices of music, Bob Dylan and the Bands Basement Tapes, Steve Earl, Lucinda Williams and early blues and country music. Authors of fiction also provide a jumping off point, Annie Proulx, Jim Harrison, George Saunders, Cormac McCarthy, James McBride, all aide in the telling of stories of lives that might otherwise be overlooked. Im interested in life in the hinterlands..throw a dart a map of the USA, there is a story there.
I’m less interested in illustration than a painterly approach to working. My guides are David Park, Max Beckmann and countless others…the narratives give me wiggle room for the paint to drive the car of painting, this gives me room to be innovative and surprised, which I view as very important to the process.”
Matthew Blackwell, 2016
Courtesy Edward Thorpe Gallery
Carriage House, Third Floor
“An old friend describes my art as “Hans Christian Tarkovsky”. . . .
My objective as an artist is to connect with my viewers on a blood memory pre-conscious level — to create images that reach into the more ancient parts of our shared humanity. No cultural specificity – only vessels of collective sentiment (like a snow man, a church, a hut or a forest). I want my viewers to never perceive the entirety of my creations; each painting, sculpture, or photographic image should unfold slowly and wondrously — with a steadfast reluctance. As I work in my studio, I dream that each piece will someday occupy a beloved but darkly mysterious space in some (as yet unknown) person’s private world.”
Herbert Reichert, 2016
Carriage House, Fourth Floor
Sculpture & Painting
“Stopping just shy of some unstated limit, my work offers just enough. It rests, or sometimes stirs, in a conditional state—precarious and fresh, full of possibility. As a condition for making art or determining a piece’s completion, arriving at ‘just enough’ implies a constant negotiation. I work with what is almost there—with the not-quite-there or just-barely-there. As a result, my work is loosely constrained in a state of possibility, in an ‘as if’ state of mind: as if we are moving through the painting; as if we are the line; as if we are atop the line; as if the sculptures are another body; as if the body of the sculpture thinks; as if it is about to leap.
The conditional part of making art begs an acceptance of something just off, or perhaps absurd, like the leap involved with getting a joke—that instant when you might pause, hold your breath, then release it into laughter. In striving to make such ‘conditional’ work, I find inspiration in the spontaneity of jazz music; in the lightness and tensility of airplanes, sailboats and bridges; and in the physical characteristics of certain materials, such as steel.
I change my mind many times. My work is off-kilter, in flux. It is unstable but at peace. Challenging and intimate. So it transitions, becoming always different. It’s also true that, at times, it makes me laugh.”
Tom Butter, 2016
John Davis Gallery 362 1/2 Warren Street Hudson, New York 12534
Hours: Thursdays through Mondays, 11 – 5 pm and by appointment