(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) The Harrison Gallery will present a show of two gallery favorites: realist painter Nick Patten and bronze sculptor Susan Read Cronin. The artists will attend the opening reception on Saturday, October 1, 2011, from 5 until 7 pm.
Nick Patten paints the interiors of rooms in old houses with direct and reflected light that touches gently on the walls and floors, archways and sparse furnishings to create scenes that are hauntingly still, serene and calming. His works typically bring the eye on a journey through the portion of a room or a series of rooms that give the viewer the feeling of peeking in at a time when nobody else is in the house.
Patten creates spaces that speak not through people or movement, but through shadows, light and reflections. Whatever feelings the viewer gets from his paintings, Patten says, they belong to the viewer alone. “I don’t put any narrative into my work. I don’t try to manipulate the observer’s emotions. If someone sees melancholy in the empty room, fine, if someone gets a feeling of pleasant nostalgia for a home once lived in, that’s just as valid.”
Patten works from photographs, painting in a windowless studio in a barn behind his home just outside of Hudson, N.Y. As he works, a spotlight illuminates his canvas just as it does when his paintings are exhibited. “The photos,” he says, “are just a starting point. I use what I call ‘the process of exclusion,’ which means I sort through what’s on the film and take out all extraneous objects. Sometimes adding things from my imagination. With the design in place I then work to create a balance, harnessing the bold contrasts of light and shadow to reveal the quiet drama in an everyday scene.”
Born in Troy, N.Y., Patten earned his BA of Fine Arts at the College of St. Rose in Albany. In New York City, he took life drawing classes at both the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design. For twelve years he ran the Patten Gallery in Chatham, Mass., on Cape Cod before returning recently to his home grounds along the Hudson River.
Susan Read Cronin is known for her humorous and ironic depictions of animals and people. She is a southern Vermont artist who was educated at the Madeira School and Williams College. She then studied sculpture with Jane B. Armstrong and Walter Matia.
Cronin’s sculptures mostly depict animals, but are almost always about the drama of life. The titles of the sculptures often include some kind of pun or trick. She writes: “I want to create art that makes people take a second look, for, just as in real life, all may not be as it appears at first glance. They’re about relationships…. They’re about love, conditional and unconditional….”
Cronin’s playful sense of humor is at the core of her work in design and art. She seeks to engage the viewer with the art and argues that art should be lived with, even played with, as she often does when devising new compositions.
Cronin is a member of the Copley Society of Boston and has shown nationally, including solo exhibitions at the Erie Art Museum, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Louisiana Arts and Science Museum, Irving Arts Center, Irving, Texas, the Wiregrass Museum of Art, Dothan, Alabama, the Southern Vermont Art Center and the Chaffee Center for the Visual Arts.
The Harrison Gallery is located at 39 Spring Street in Williamstown, Mass. Gallery hours are Monday – Saturday, 10 am to 5:30 pm, Sunday 11 am to 4 pm. For further information call 413.458.1700 or visit The Harrison Gallery.