The bittersweet season is once more enfolding us, even as Autumn reaps its small deaths in the gardens and fields, it also leaves us with a vibrant display of color. The final bright blaze of a visual symphony issues a challenge, and sparks a hope in us, as we enter the winter months to come. Our four featured artists are not “going gently into that dark night”, but have summoned new energy and passion evident in our final show of the season.
Susan Graeber’s paintings give equal weight to the positive and negative forms created by the interplay of tree trunks and the atmospheric environment. In her painting, “Golden Fall Birch Trees”, the influence of Neil Welliver on her work is discernible and strongly apparent. Both artists spend hours in their studio, and in the woods to visually decode the complex patterns of the deep mysterious forests that surround them. Graeber also draws inspiration from Fairfield Porter, whose masterful use of interlocking color, informs her own tight compositions of foliage.
The recent studio pieces by Kathleen Robbins explore another aspect of the natural world in chromatic flux, the autumn Marsh. By melding her plein air sketches with photographic references and sense memory, she powerfully invokes the low lying wetlands. What some might dismiss as a wasteland, comes “alive with color, texture, and sharp contrasts” through Robbins’ realization of the landscape. Robbins summarizes her style by saying, “…ultimately, my paintings navigate the elusive snaking line between abstraction and figuration.”
One of our newest in-house artists, Charles Fenner Ball, moved east from Santa Fe. Out west, he was drawn to mountain groves of aspen, where he could respond with painterly immediacy, or store up and distill the mystical qualities of these natural tree sanctuaries. Aspen and Birch are closely related, both belonging to the poplar family. The artist writes, “…my love of aspens has been supplanted by birch trees, which offer very similar aesthetic characteristics… The white bark (of the birch) is like a blank canvas, reflecting the nature that surrounds it – the sun and sky, warm and cool reflected light, the foliage of the ground and trees.” Instead of depicting a specific location, Ball will often draw on his memories of landscapes, which coalesce into his idealized vision.
The tireless plein-air painter, Stefan Pastuhov captures the low glow of autumnal light on treetops in his painting of the peaks of Katahdin, entitled “From the Golden Road, Katahdin”. This is a true Jewel of a painting interpreting one of Maine’s most magnificent state parks. Pastuhov captures the majestic glitter of autumnal foliage that adorn the timberland and mountainous landscape overlooked by a sentry birch. With the twinkle of the lake and clouds receding past the mountain, the brisk beautiful autumn weather is conveyed and felt.
If you can’t make the journey to the byways of Baxter this month, enjoy the fiery foliage vicariously, by joining us at the gallery to celebrate the most vivid of seasons. Located at 5 Public Landing in Camden, the gallery is open daily from 10am-5pm. This show will run till the end of the gallery season. For more information, please visit www.camdenfallsgallery.com or call 207-470-7027.