Lecture: 7-8 pm Elizabeth O’Reilly “Painting Brooklyn and Ireland”
Scott Noel, Professor of Painting at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, on “Realism in the 21st Century”
Throughout his career George Nick has experienced the extraordinary value of having a mentor in artists such as Edwin Dickinson and Fairfield Porter. These relationships proved to be experiences that generated a genuine interest and enthusiasm for being a mentor to young artist’s he has met through his teaching career and travels. “George Nick Select’s” is an example of these relationships. This year George Nick has selected artists from Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Indiana, representing an eclectic array of realism.
Although, the thematic structure of the exhibition is realism each artist has imbued his or her own canvas with art historical references ranging from Dutch masters to abstract expressionism. Martha Armstrong’s landscapes belie a formal realism as they seem to teeter on the edge of abstraction. Philip Geiger explores the relationships of color and light to create his interpretation of everyday events within an interior space. Tim Kennedy captures Americana in his figure paintings in a fashion reminiscent of Alex Katz or Louisa Matthiasdottir. He reminds the viewer that the aesthetic merits of objects in still life paintings are as valid as the figures inhabiting the same space. Elizabeth O’Reilly deftly captures an urban setting, whether it is Brooklyn or her native Ireland, putting forth vibrant colors that balance against planes of monochromatic hue. Nick’s influence as well as that of Lois Dodd resound in these landscapes. Edwin Dickinson clearly influenced the figurative work of Jeffrey Carr. The professional draftsmanship of the figure commingles with the surrealistic characteristics Dickinson was known for. Scott Noel finds a “sacramental dignity” in still life images, responding to empty spaces and the objects equally. He studies light on these objects and empty spaces with an “assertive painterly touch.”
There is a hazy line distinguishing where the mentors influence begins and ends. One could say that generations of mentors reside in a corner of an artists studio with a panoply of canvases as reference material. The creative mind instinctively yields to generations of artists.