ON VIEW: A Master of the View

January 01, 2020

Some exhibits come and go, but this one is here to stay.  Olana is the fantastic and fantastical home of 19th century painter Frederick Church.  Located in the northern Hudson Valley, it has been beautifully restored.  It's often cited for its quirky mash-up of architectural styles, but a recent article in the Wall Street Journal rightly calls our attention to the role of color in this jewel of a building.  

Re-visiting to site, author Michael J Lewis comments on the improvements recently made to the surrounding grounds, which help put things in perspective:

"Now it is finally possible to understand Olana as a unity of house and grounds. Without its setting, the Persian fantasia makes little sense. Its loud palette of red, black and yellow desperately needs complementary colors to offset it, and this Church provided in the form of 250 acres of green woods and meadows—an emerald setting in which the ruby glistens. Belatedly Olana is no longer a cranky Victorian folly but that rarest of all jewels, an essay in chromatic thought."

BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE

October 07, 2016

LEAP BEFORE YOUR LOOK: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 is at the Wexner (Columbus, OH) this fall, and it's a rich presentation of the experimental ideas and work created at this idealistic site in the North Carolina mountains.   Extensive archival documentation doesn't weigh down the show, which is full of great examples of the influential artists associated with BMC: Anni and Josef Albers, Ruth Asawa, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Ray Johnson, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Buckminster Fuller and John Cage to name a few.  With Albers at the helm of the painting department from 1933-1949, it's no wonder that color plays such a strong role.

VAN GOGH: Into the Undergrowth

October 07, 2016

One week to go until the Cincinnati Art Museum opens this jewelbox of a show.  Opening on October 15, the exhibit of 20 works from varied periods, uses this little-known but by now much-studied view of the woods by Van Gogh (the exhibit remains of view through January 8, 2017).  Although current scholarship gives the work a socially-weighted interpretation--suggesting this kind of view of nature was "a reaction to the increasing industrialization and urbanization of society"--you can still simply luxuriate in the saturated, vibrating color.

October 07, 2016

No longer on view, Do Ho Suh's installations at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati still hover in our consciousness.  A Korean-American artist who, like many of us, has moved around over time, memorializes these places in lightweight constructions that duplicate their physicality in form--but not substance.  Hallways, rooms, staircases--all are intricately constructed with transparent nylon fabric.  Color itself--sometimes vivid, sometimes in elegiac wash--seems to be the medium he uses, since these sculptures are floating, light-filled and otherworldly.   What a revelation.

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