On Saturday Binnie and I drove to the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, New Jersey to pick up work from Swept Away: Translucence, Transparence, Transcendence in Contemporary Encaustic. We had a very nice lunch in Clinton and then drove slowly back into New York through the rain and traffic. It felt like we had been gone for hours -- and we were. In fact, it was nearly dark by the time we reached Larchmont and the rain began falling more steadily.
Kenise Barnes Fine Art (KBFA)
Larchmont, New York
Opening Reception for Two Shows: Saturday, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
This was the first time I had visited Kenise Barnes' lovely contemporary art gallery, and Binnie and I were very pleased to be receive a friendly welcome and unofficial tour prior to the reception's beginning. This is a pristine white space, thoughtfully and beautifully organized to display the exceptional art featured at KBFA. The upstairs space has two galleries with a small viewing room at the rear and the world's best storage layout and viewing area in the basement. Even the bathroom has a terrific selection of artwork complementing the dark blue wall and streamlined fixtures.
All the images below are from the KBFA gallery website, and I wish that all galleries would use this website as a model of easily navigated sections with wonderful, large photos and full captions. This website gets an A++. (I am linking to it twice for good measure.)
David Konigsberg was showing "Nigh Season" in Gallery I, and his large, colorful narrative paintings featured conceptual landscapes that seemed to be remembered rather than observed. His website statement says: " His work occupies a nether world of image and memory in his very personal narratives, which are not meant to be deciphered but experienced as emotional possibilities."
|David Konigsberg, Fields Near Germantown, 2014, oil on canvas, 45 x 60 inches|
|David Konigsberg, Fields, Distant Barn, 2013, oil on canvas, 44 x 46 inches|
In Gallery II, Julie Gross and Margaret Neill were showing new work in "Undulate." This show spoke more to my aesthetic because of the color and geometry. I had admired Julie Gross's work only online, but in person it was so intensely colored and vibrant that I had a new appreciation for it. She refers to these curving forms as "vessels for color" and that was readily apparent.
|Julie Gross, Vertical Sine Horizon #4, 2014, oil on linen, 64 x 32 inches|
|Julie Gross, Vertical Sine Horizon #5, oil on linen, 64 x 32 inches|
These large columnar paintings were dynamic and luminous with restrained curves that played with the relationship between figure and ground. There was noting restrained about the thrilling color combinations. The colors were pleasingly sophisticated and unexpected, especially in the gouache paintings on paper that were studies for the larger works. Those dense, matte gouache surfaces were even more chromatically rich and seemed to vibrate as the colors played off one another. We were gushing over them!
|Julie Gross, Vertical Sine Horizon #10, 2014, gouache on paper, 22.5 x 13.5 inches|
|Julie Gross, Vertical Sine Horizon #20, 2014, gouache on paper, 22.5 x 13.5 inches|
I was not familiar with Margaret Neill's work previously but became an instant fan. The curves in her paintings are sensuous and created with a full movement of arm and body. It was clear that those curves were felt emotionally and intuitively as she applied layers of meditative paint. Thin veils of paint with striated brushmarks in some areas gave glimpses of forms beneath and added a great sense of depth.
|Margaret Neill, Conduit, 2014, oil on linen, 48 x 48 inches|
|Margaret Neill, Snap, 2014, oil on paper mounted on panel, 24 x 24 inches|
Margaret Neil also showed airy drawings on paper that recorded repeated trajectories of looping pathways and pressures, like graphs of emotional journeys or dramatically obsessive responses to music or memories. Her statement says: "My work emerges from an engagement with my materials and is concerned with neither narrative nor image. The medium becomes the vehicle of my expression of transient but ever present tensions and their resolution..."
|Margaret Neill, Rondel Series I, 2014, colored pencil and acrylic on paper, 36 x 50 inches (unframed) 51 x 37 inches (framed)|
|Margaret Neill, Prospect, graphite on paper, 44 x 44 inches|
A Perfect Ending To a Perfect Day
Binnie and I met up with our friend, artist Ruth Hiller, and interviewed her informally* about her residency at the Golden Foundation Residency Program in upstate New York. We had a fine time chatting downstairs in the KBFA viewing room surrounded by paintings and other works of art. Eventually we adjourned for a good Chinese dinner just down the street from the gallery and then, full circle, made our way back to Connecticut through the rain and traffic.
*Here is the link to an actual interview with Ruth about her Golden experience conducted by Milisa Galazzi in ProWax Journal, a quarterly online publication for professional artists working in the medium of encaustic. While you're there, read some of the other great articles and features!
Coming up next: P a r t T h r e e - no, I'm still not done with the world's longest weekend.