(HUDSON, N.Y.) – “Cast of Characters” & “Heavy Metal,” new exhibitions featuring figurative works by Michael Crawford, Paul Katz and David Austin, and highly realistic paintings by Joe Richards, respectively, go on view at Carrie Haddad Gallery on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, and remains on display through Sunday, May 31. There will be an artists’ reception on Saturday, May 2, from 6 to 8pm. The opening is free and open to the public.
David Austin captures the small moments in life often with a darkly humorous spin on social or political commentary. With sleek figures and its smooth, glossy surface, Board depicts business executives weighing corporate profit over environmental destruction during a flirtatious game of footsie. A bright palette plays up the irony Austin exposes in “Grass Stains,” where the artist paints the scene of a simple suburban man discovering a mysterious body under his manicured tree while mowing the lawn on a bright summer day. Austin explores “the dynamics of life such as: beauty within horror, light within darkness, calm within tension, and hope within despair.” The narrative remains unresolved while the viewer’s mind runs wild with possible explanations. Austin graduated from the College of St. Rose and has exhibited his work extensively in the Capital Region since 1999.
Painter and cartoonist Michael Crawford will exhibit a selection of works including his Dallas series that recalls a darker moment in America’s history. With Dallas, Crawford depicts the minutes following John F. Kennedy’s assassination when Jacqueline Onassis slides over the trunk of the presidential motorcade to the safety of a White House security guard. The series includes five paintings, ranging from one to seven feet long, distorting a memory from one of the most tragic events of 20th century America. Crawford reworks and abstracts this still taken from a scene in the 1963 Zapruder film. The most striking is perhaps Dallas No. 4, 1996, where the artist replaces Jackie O. with Andrew Wyeth’s Christina. Additional selections include paintings of New York City mob bosses, which were featured in a four-page spread for the cartoon issue of the New Yorker in November 2000. Crawford’s cartoons have appeared in this esteemed weekly publication for 30 years, and he continues to paint in his new studio in Kingston, N.Y.
Born in Des Moines, Iowa, the late realist painter Joe Richards went on to study at the American Academy of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts after serving in the Pacific Theater during WWII. During his study, the ambitious young artist paid tuition working as a Merchant Seaman with the US Coast Guard. Upon graduating, Richards moved to New York City, where he was represented by Ivan Karp at OK Harris Gallery. It was in NYC where he began painting functional objects such as locomotives, cranes, and anchors, finding beauty in their dramatic color, resilient texture, definitive form, and functionality. Richards paints sections of these objects in grand scale, with canvases up to six feet long boasting eye-popping color, calling attention to their massive proportions and exceptional strength. The artist lived in Columbia County for over 20 years and passed away in 2007.
Paul Katz will exhibit a series of objects and paintings inspired by both a William Wordsworth poem entitled Prelude and a photograph in the New York Times of an office covered in ash following the 9/11 attacks. Layers of debris left ordinary objects unrecognizable and a once lively atmosphere had come to resemble an archeological dig site. With thick lines and dense black and white patterns, Katz covers the surfaces of his objects with Wordsworth’s poem, seeing “culture, in the form of poetry, settling like ash over everything.” The intertwined lines and impenetrable layers make the poem almost impossible to read. The artist says a translation is only possible “through an act of penitential diligence.” Katz has also worked as a staff photographer for the Guggenheim Museum, an art lecturer, gallerist, art editor, director of photography, and curatorial consultant. Katz is a native of New York City and received his graduate degree in Art History from Hunter College.