In honor of the 200th anniversary of Thomas Cole’s first Atlantic crossing, Greene County Council on the Arts (GCCA) is presenting “New School,” a group exhibition of local artists who create artwork inspired by the Hudson River School that Cole founded. Artists were asked to submit work that represents contemporary interpretations of the Hudson River School, rather than mimicking the classic landscape style. The New School exhibition received a large number of submissions, of which co-curator Sara Pruiksma chose sixteen artists representing a variety of mediums from watercolor to photography. Pruiksma, best known for her botanical paintings, is the Curatorial Assistant at the Albany International Airport. The opening reception for New School will be held on Saturday, June 16 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at GCCA’s gallery, 398 Main Street, Catskill, NY. The reception is free and open to the public.
Not surprisingly in an exhibition inspired by Thomas Cole, Mother Nature permeates all the artwork in New School, whether overtly or abstractly. The words in Fern Apfel’s “The River” series are taken from a diary published in 1928 that documents the days as they pass, starting from New Year’s Day and traveling chronologically through the year through the three pictures. The year ends and begins, mimicking the river’s enduring spirit and constant motion.
Several of the artists in New School not only take their inspiration from the outdoors, but also make their art outdoors, a process called plein air that was common to the Hudson River School of artists. Marianne Tully chooses to do plein air landscape paintings because she wishes “to capture the tones and forms of nature in my paintings, giving the viewer some of the same experience that I have felt in confronting the exquisite beauty and reality of the earth.” Sheila Trautman, a plein air watercolorist, tries to “communicate the fundamental nature of the scenes she observes.” Trautman is also an active member of the Hudson River Artists Guild in Hunter, New York.
While the sixteen artists in New School represent a variety of mediums, all of the artists live in and around the Catskill Mountains, including Jewett, Hunter, Windham, Catskill, Stone Ridge, Elizaville, Schoharie, and Woodstock. “It’s fascinating how each artist interprets our shared, profoundly beautiful landscape,” says co-curator Sara Pruiksma, a long-time native of the area. “That is precisely what New School is celebrating.”
The full list of artists in New School is Fern Apfel, Hilary Baldwin, Athena Billas, Naomi Blum, Bob Crimi, Francis Driscoll, Scott Keidong, Laura Leigh Lanchantin, James Marquis, Patrick Milbourn, Michelle Moran, Susan Sabino, Carol Slutzky-Tenerowicz, Katarina Spitzer, Marianne Tully, Sheila Trautman. The New School group exhibition will be on display from June 16 through August 4, 2018, concurrently with “Repeated Returning,” a solo show in GCCA’s upstairs gallery of multidisciplinary artist, Caitlin Parker. Parker’s work involves printing on paper and fabric with pressed plants and experimentation with natural dyes, cyanotype process on fabric, sewing and weaving.
The Greene County Council on the Arts Gallery is located at 398 Main Street, Catskill, NY. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. GCCA is closed on Sundays. For more information on upcoming exhibits, events, artist and grant opportunities, visit www.greenearts.org or call 518-943-3400.