(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Abstractions, a new multi-artist exhibition featuring works by Jenny Nelson, Stephen Walling, Juan Garcia-Nunez, Bruce Murphy, Christopher Engel, Joe Wheaton, and John Griebsch goes on view at Carrie Haddad Gallery on Wednesday, August 9, and runs through Sunday, September 24. A reception for the artists takes place on Saturday, August 12, from 5 to 7pm.
The exhibition features new abstract paintings by Jenny Nelson; 3-D wooden wall sculpture by Stephen Walling; a new series of abstract watercolors by Juan Garcia-Nunez; enamel sheet metal paintings by Bruce Murphy; gestural abstract paintings by Christopher Engel; and oxidized metal sculpture by Joe Wheaton. The upstairs gallery will feature aerial landscape photography by John Griebsch.
Jenny Nelson has wooed audiences with consistently exquisite and balanced abstract paintings in neutral palettes of blues and grays that give way to pops of pink and orange. It is through her commitment to a lifelong, organic process that she has achieved a language and a technique that is very much her own. Classically trained at Bard College, Nelson’s thorough knowledge of composition and color relationships as experienced through drawing from life are the tools that prepared her to work in abstraction and develop her technique. Nelson begins all her paintings the same way; she mixes an extensive palette of colors and proceeds to obliterate the surface with lots of color and wild gestures. After observing the discomfort that remains, the next step is reductive as she blocks out bits of chaos with a solid color applied with a palette knife, oil sticks and brushes. Tension is built through the push and pull of paint as it is layered over colors and unruly forms. Some pieces in this new body of work differ from previous paintings in that the abstractions are once again rooted in life. Inspired by the photographs of artist Joseph Podlesnik, Nelson uses his architectural and observational compositions as the framework for her new work. While the origins of the photographs’ subjects are not recognizable in the finished painting, she channels the energy discovered in his real-life findings to her canvas for a result that is entirely abstract. A graduate of Bard College, Jenny Nelson also studied at the Lacoste School of the Arts in France and Maine College of Art. She completed a Residency at Byrdcliffe Art Colony from 2004 – 2008 and has exhibited regionally and nationally for many years. Nelson currently teaches workshops and an ongoing weekly class at the Woodstock School of Art.
A close examination to space and form remains at the heart of Christopher Engel’s paintings while geometric formations of color loosen into sweeping gestural brushstrokes in later years. With canvases over 4ft tall, broad arcs and linear applications of paint propel Engel’s foreground against a subdued background, where the artist achieves a mindful spatial perception. “Space is something ever present”, he states, “even in total darkness we are conscious of space around us. I try to achieve this feeling with color, texture, overlapping shapes and scale.” As minimalist shapes transform into expressionistic gestures, Engel maintains a palette of earth tones and forest greens undoubtedly informed by the artist’s rural studio landscape.
Stephen Walling returns with three-dimensional wall sculpture of colorfully painted wood strips and blocks, intricately carved and composed into graphic arrangements. While continuing his affinity for bold color and shapes, Walling has presented more complex constructions in his latest work, choosing to develop the strips of wood with elaborate carvings and additional tiers that encase hints of color like a hidden gem. The surprises are all in the unexpected details; a shade of bright yellow that peeks through the pale blue box-like constructions in “Let the Sunshine In”, or varying shades of bright green painted into the crevices of a sleek, white, vertical composition in “Glimpses”. Walling weaves playful sensibility with intrigue into each work, offering multiple perspectives that change depending on how you look at it.
Bruce Murphy presents unconventional methods of painting with a series of enamel paintings on sheet metal “boxes” from 2012. Never failing to present beautiful possibilities in abstraction, the artist combines delicate applications of yellow and mauve enamel that dance against a natural rust surface behind a glossy veneer.
Each painting in Juan Garcia-Nunez’s evocative new “Transparencies” series draws the viewer in with a bold, geometric silhouette along the vertical axis, a clever experiment in positive and negative space that conjures up a variety of possible identities: an abstracted landscape, an eclipse, an abyss—each viewer will understand the image in their own way. These silhouettes flare out in a beautiful array of warm scarlets and ochres, fading gently into the more subdued background.
Joe Wheaton’s sculptures are a static moment in an active performance. If Calder and Miro had a love child, Wheaton would be him. The group of oxidized brass pieces have qualities of both surrealism and post-minimalism and confirms Wheaton’s craftsmanship in the gracefulness of his work.
On view in the upstairs gallery will be aerial photographs by John Griebsch. Photographing the Earth from the vantage point of his 1952 Cessna 170B, Griebsch’s subject matter consists of patchwork farmland, interlaced winterscapes, and most recently, the alluvial deltas of the Sundhurland region of Iceland. The unique colors under the surface of the water are a result of the various minerals and volcanic ash which are suspended in the fast moving waters as they flow to sea. Griebsch’s work does not lack for artistic merit; viewed from up high, fractals in nature call to mind a Pollock painting, while swirling rivers echo the brushstrokes of Van Gogh. Complimenting the Earth’s natural majesty is Griebsch’s mature and keen sense of composition, gained from a photography career that began at the age of 12.
For more information or to make an inquiry, contact the gallery at (518) 828-1915, or send email to email@example.com. Carrie Haddad Gallery is open daily from 11-5pm.