On view in the Drawing Gallery in January and February will be the two person exhibition, Winter, featuring work by Joseph Garlock (1884-1980) and Chris Gonyea (b.1964). Both artists draw on the potent landscape and rich heritage of the Hudson River Valley which holds a unique place in having helped define how America sees itself and is seen by the world. The works by Garlock were made in 1950s and Gonyea’s paintings are more recent and date from 2007. The works, like many images made in and about cold weather, have a particular type of energy that you can often feel as well as see.
Joseph Garlock was an outsider artist who made his living as a bus driver, cobbler and fruit monger, and who only started to make artwork when he retired in 1949 at the age of 65. This juncture began a feverish spell of artistic activity that lasted 15 years, ending only when Garlock was physically unable to continue due to age and illness. In the year 2000, his grandchildren opened a storage shed on the family’s Woodstock property and discovered a trove of hundreds of works covering themes and subjects that include bucolic landscapes, his cultural background as a Russian emigre and his various professions as he made his way in American society.
Chris Gonyea is an artist living in Kingston, New York. He studied at the Pratt Institute in the 1980s where he became an abstract painter. In the late 1990s, after a lifetime of hiking and driving in and around the woods of upstate New York, he began to bring the landscape into his paintings. His turning point came when he focused on trees as both powerful symbols and as an infinite source of abstract possibilities. In particular, he uses the negative space in between branches as a way to approach and interpret the landscape, making Winter his preferred time to paint when the trees are standing naked. Like Garlock, Gonyea has juggled many professions including time as the owner of the popular Living Room Gallery, as an elected member of the Kingston city council and, most importantly, as a visual artist.
Winter brings together two instinctual artists from upstate New York. Both use symbolism and observation channeled through an idiosyncratic personal style, honed and developed with an intuitive understanding of their physical surroundings and interaction with their social milieu.
This exhibition is presented in collaboration with and thanks to the James Cox Gallery, Woodstock, NY