Sylvan Gallery’s “Late Summer Exhibition” is continually evolving as new works arrive daily, painted by the Gallery’s roster of fine contemporary artists. September marks the gallery’s 18th year of representing a diverse and extremely talented group of New England artists. To celebrate, the Gallery will host a reception on Thursday, September 27, the evening of the Wiscasset Art Walk, from 5pm to 8pm. The exhibition continues through October 28th.
New arrivals include a collection of eleven paintings by New Jersey artist Neal Hughes. A recent viewer has already remarked how “ he paints all my favorite subjects.” Trains, old trucks, forest streams, and boatyards provide inspiration for Hughes who has remarkable skill at capturing a scene “en plein air.” In “Woodland Stream,” quick short strokes of paint describe the curve of the fallen tree branches over the swiftly moving water, and the foliage is painted in natural tones of green against darker woodland shadows. The painting evokes the feeling of the 19th century Barbizon school, who were the first artists to paint directly from nature, combining elements of Tonalism and Impressionism.
Hughes’s painting, “Island Cottage,” in contrast, is a light airy painting which captures the aged texture of a Monhegan cottage amidst brilliant tiger lilies and deft flecks of violet and yellow, representing the blooms of other late summer flowers. The painting is exuberant in color and brushwork. A few of his other new paintings include, “The Mary Day at Camden,” a painting of a boatyard titled, “Essex Idle,” and a collection of old cars that are being stored in a barn in “Hidden Away.”
Hughes is a former illustrator who has been painting professionally for over 30 years. His work has been accepted into national juried exhibitions, and he has won many awards including an Award of Excellence at the prestigious International Marine Art Exhibition at the Gallery at Mystic Seaport. He was the grand prize winner of the Utrecht 60th Anniversary Art Competition, winning the top prize out of more than 12,000 entries.
Susannah Haney of Wiscasset, returns this summer to bring us her well-composed views of Monhegan Island cottages. “Miss Millie at School” depicts the Monhegan schoolhouse with its mascot, a golden retriever, at rest in the doorway. The flora is finely detailed and the painting is rich in warm summer light and cool shadows. Haney also treats us to two new paintings from her exploration of Stonington, Maine. Both are scenes of the same house at dusk. In “The Quiet Season,” the house is situated at the edge of the road, illuminated by a street lamp. There is a delicate transition in the merging of the light and shadows. In the second painting, “The Old Mansard,” the focus is on the side view of the building, its water reflection and surrounding granite rocks. There’s a distant glow from the setting sun, but again, the street lamps provide the source of the scene’s illumination. Haney achieves a sense of solitude and one of quiet mood in these two works.
Robert Noreika ’s newest painting, “New Harbor Morning,” measures 30 by 40 inches and is one of the largest paintings in the exhibit. Noreika captures a representation of what he sees by using a working harbor as a jumping off point to create rhythmic patterns of lines and shapes that weave in and out of the landscape. Docks become slashes of color, buildings and rooftops are broadly painted, lobster boats reflect the brilliance of morning light, and the hillside and tree beyond are a nice juxtaposition to all the activity in the harbor. The water is a beautiful mix of almost all the colors of the painting: golds, blues and violets with dashes of orange and reds accents. Noreika captures nature’s light and creates paintings that are spontaneous, fluid and bold. His other paintings in the exhibition include paintings from Bailey’s Island and Monhegan Island.
Paul Batch is the newest artist to be represented by the gallery and his evocative atmospheric landscapes are a poetic response to the fleeting and ephemeral light cast by the passing sun or rising moon. He focuses on transitions, painting various times of day, changing weather, and the rich seasons that New England offers. In “Break in the Clouds,” Batch captures the momentary effects of blue sky and sunlight striking the ocean just as dark clouds begin to part. Another work of special note in the exhibition is a 30 by 30 inch painting titled, “Fading.” Batch captures the beautiful gradations that occur in the sky as the sun is beginning to set. A grouping of pine trees is silhouetted against the vast sky, and the painting feels illuminated from within.
Batch is an award -winning member of Oil Painters of America and Portrait Society of America. His work has appeared in numerous publications including the Artist’s Magazine, International Artist and Fine Art Connoisseur.
Maine artists whose work will also be on view include Stan Moeller (York), whose newest oils include two 12 by 16 inch paintings titled “Churning” and “Twilight Surf.” They evoke the power and beauty of Monhegan’s coastal landscape. Shepherdess and photojournalist Nina Fuller (Hollis), presents a collection of photographic images of Scottish Blackface Sheep, and Ann Scanlan (Wiscasset), continues to explore the theme of animals in rural farm settings in her most recent painting of sheep in “The Cheviots of Straw’s Farm.”
Other represented artists who focus on Maine subjects include Peter Layne Arguimbau, whose painting of “Red Jacket,” a celebrated clipper, was built in Rockland, Maine, and was launched in 1853. Her first voyage set the speed record for sailing ships to cross the Atlantc by traveling from New York to Liverpool in 13 days, 1 hour, 25 minutes, dock to dock. Crista Pisano will be exhibiting small intimate paintings of Maine’s coast and is also presenting a larger atmospheric painting at 28 by 32 inches titled, “Marsh and Clouds.”
A selection of work by the gallery’s other contemporary artists will also be on display, including Joann Ballinger, Al Barker, Angelo Franco, Charles Kolnik, Heather Gibson Lusk, Polly Seip, Laura Winslow and Shirley Cean Youngs.
For more information, call 882-8290 or go to www.sylvangallery.com. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 49 Water St., Wiscasset, on the corner of Main Street (Route 1) and Water Street, next to Red’s Eats.