May 22nd 2015

Hudson River Schooled

by Glen Roven

Glen Roven, Emmy Award winner, is a composer, lyricist, conductor, pianist, translator and CD Producer.



I had a house in Rhinebeck, upstate New York, in the '80s, before Bard College had its very own Frank Gehry theater, before there was edible food on Main Street and certainly before nearby Hudson was hip and happening. Back then, Hudson, a dilapidated whaling town, was known for two things: crack and prostitutes.

Now, the crack is gone and the only prostitutes left are the Antique Dealers. (That's a joke, guys; don't get upset.) Lately, I've heard that Hudson can compete with Chelsea as the most fashionable place to browse and buy art, so last weekend I took Amtrak up the river to see for myself.

Boarding the train at Penn Station was a macabre experience as the female voice coldly said on the PA, "There will be no service on Amtrak between here and Washington. Please see an agent for a refund." But despite the somber start, the mood lightened as we left NYC and headed up the Hudson. From my years of doing this trip, I knew to sit on the left hand side of the train so that the views of the majestic Hudson were my scenic companion for the short two-hour ride into Columbia County.


My destination in Hudson was a solo-show at Galerie Gris featuring new work byFrank Tartaglione, an artist I've been following since I discovered him in 1979 at the Angus Whyte Gallery in DC. In the years since that show, Tartaglione became one of America's foremost decorative painters, designing and executing murals for the rich and powerful and working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Reagan White House. Throughout that period he continued to paint large abstract oils--very much in a different key from his representational work--but exhibited rarely in New York. There was were solo shows on the west coast and at the Merchant Ivory Foundation, and group shows at Chelsea's George Billis Gallery and elsewhere, but this was the first time I'd seen his work in some time.

The opening didn't start until 6 so I had planned a gallery walking tour for the first part of my weekend in the country.

Walking the short blocks from the station, I saw that the crack dens had miraculously transformed into Main Street USA, straight out of Disneyland. The clapboard houses were freshly painted, the window boxes in full bloom, and the fully restored federal brick mansions screamed, "Look at me, I'm gorgeous." Even the metal whale hanging above an entrance to remind visitors of Hudson's heritage had exactly the right amount of patina to show it had been lovingly restored. I have absolutely no problem with urban renewal, especially when it's all so tastefully done (thanks again, oh great decorators.) Of course one has to wonder what happened to the poor, but that's probably another article.

With a rainbow flag waving proudly up ahead, I knew I was in the right place and started my jaunt uphill Warren Street the main drag. On my last visit to Hudson many years ago, there were two fine Galleries, The http://carriehaddadgallery.com andJohn Davis Galleryjj, but since then the galleries have multiplied like art-loving rabbits and now one appeared just about every fifteen feet.

The angular ceramic sculptures of Cody Hoyt at the Jeff Bailey Gallery (127 Warren Street) immediately caught my attention. Hoyt began his career as a printmaker and transferred his skill into these gravity-defying, table-size sculptures that reference origami, the machine age and cubist space. The decorations on the work are formed by layering different colors of clay, slicing them up and then laying them on the ground; it's easy to see the influence of his work as a printmaker, as he seems to be "printing" with clay.


Perhaps the old and new Hudson do still coexist. I strolled past two older African-American gents gainfully playing chess in front of a uni-sex barbershop before I reached the J. Damiani Gallery gl(237 Warren Street) and discovered Joan Damiani's quasi realistic paintings of cars. I love the power of Carlos Alvarez's Los Angeles crashes and the crushed-car sculptures of John Chamberlain so I felt right at home. Ms. Damiani was not only the proprietor but the principle artist in the show, entitledThe Road Will Never Be the Same. In addition to her cars, she displayed beautiful works of Columbia County, my favorite, a buttery painting of a house on Warren Street. The street clearly casts sensuous shadows and Damiani captured them in her simple, yet elegant painting of a store with a green topped fire hydrant balanced by a flower pot in the window. This Hopper-esque street scene seemed to sum up both the old and new Hudson in one sweet painting.


The most expansive gallery on my visit--and the one which would fit comfortably on 19th Street in Chelsea--is the Caldwell Gallery (355 Warren Street) with its grey and white walls and black astro-turf floors. This is the only gallery I saw whose principal collection was the secondary market, paintings by artists who have passed and are now being sold again. This also made the prices at the CGH much higher than the other shops. Caldwell is a new addition to the community, having only been there a year, but what an astonishing addition. Exhibited at the front is a spectacular John Grillo, who died recently at 97. He was a student of one of my favorite artists, Hans Hofmann, and his effervescent explosions of yellows, oranges and the entire array of sunny colors eagerly recall his mentor but with a less formal brush and softer-edged geometric shapes.. My art walk was getting better and better! 



I next passed the Hudson Opera House where a student show was taking place. Hudson High School had arranged a mentoring program between its student artists and local arts professionals; by a happy coincidence, 16 year old Danny Gelles, a budding photographer, was partnered with Tartaglione, the artist I'd set out to see. After being dazzled by his architectural photograph of some sort of steel structure, (which I later found out was a section of the Eiffel Tower,) I couldn't help asking him about his mentor. "Frank," he said, "offered me a look into the abstract world."


And what a beautiful abstract world Tartaglione has created for his current show. My last stop was the afore mentioned Gallerie Gris, located at the top of Warren Street and one of the smaller galleries, but size wasn't an issue as Tartaglione's works blew the roof off. He had always circled representational elements in previous work, but here he seems to have abandoned completely any realistic conventions and instead explores expressionism with an emphasis on compositional content. In the biggest works, "Look up! Green" and "Look up! Blue," the energetic surfaces are united by rich saturated color that creates strong, structural effects. The planes of pigment build formal arrangements that feel vital to the visual experience of the work, and Tartaglione's embrace of abstraction is emotionally evocative without becoming narrative. Although I heard comments from the packed crowd about how the paintings reminded them of the towering banks of the Hudson bisected by the river, the images do not appear to refer to actual things, but respond to an observed visual world and communicate the pleasure of their own making.

These paintings are very lush, painterly and very inviting, the work of an artist at the height of his powers. Tartaglione applies mica in the final stages of creation, and the paintings glitter literally as much as they glitter figuratively. The Gallery quickly grew overcrowded, and I went in and out many times, but each time I returned I experienced a new sensation with the paintings. And each time I returned the red dots on sold works seemed to grow exponentially.



My preferences kept shifting, but my favorites were two paintings that hung opposite each other at the gallery entrance. One was an organic cardial-shaped mass divided into two sections, a darker side full of browns, greens and black, that shared the space with a lighter yellow, ash-blond field, with bursts of translucent white (hope?) floating above. Its companion piece described a more violent shape, and although the darkness was less intense, it had a more prominent space in the painting; it almost overwhelmed the lighter side, the white almost seeming to be attacked by the brushwork.


Tartaglione's works seemed to reflect the very emotions of life itself: happiness, anxiety, dare I say it, love(?) and yet a bit of darkness, a small shadow of doubt seemed to hover over the world. Sometimes that doubt was blacker than other times, but the life force, the force of the paint itself, was always triumphant.



To follow Glen Roven on Twitter, please click here.

To follow what's new on Facts & Arts, please click here.

For link to the CD on Amazon please click picture below.

 


This article is brought to you by the author who owns the copyright to the text.

Should you want to support the author’s creative work you can use the PayPal “Donate” button below.

Your donation is a transaction between you and the author. The proceeds go directly to the author’s PayPal account in full less PayPal’s commission.

Facts & Arts neither receives information about you, nor of your donation, nor does Facts & Arts receive a commission.

Facts & Arts does not pay the author, nor takes paid by the author, for the posting of the author's material on Facts & Arts. Facts & Arts finances its operations by selling advertising space.

 

 

 


This article is brought to you by the author who owns the copyright to the text.

Should you want to support the author’s creative work you can use the PayPal “Donate” button below.

Your donation is a transaction between you and the author. The proceeds go directly to the author’s PayPal account in full less PayPal’s commission.

Facts & Arts neither receives information about you, nor of your donation, nor does Facts & Arts receive a commission.

Facts & Arts does not pay the author, nor takes paid by the author, for the posting of the author's material on Facts & Arts. Facts & Arts finances its operations by selling advertising space.

 

 

Browse articles by author

More Essays

Apr 13th 2021
EXTRACT: "Overall, our review has found that there isn’t evidence to back up the claims that veganism is good for your heart. But that is partly because there are few studies ....... But veganism may have other health benefits. Vegans have been found to have a healthier weight and lower blood glucose levels than those who consume meat and dairy. They are also less likely to develop cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes. "
Apr 8th 2021
EXTRACT: "Pollock’s universe, the universe of Mural, cannot be said to be a rational universe. Nor is it simply devoid of all sense. It is not a purely imaginary world, although in it everything is in a constant state of flux. Mural invokes one of the oldest questions of philosophy, a question going back to the Pre-Socratic philosophers Parmenides and Heraclitus – namely, whether the nature of Reality constitutes unchanging permanence or constant movement and flux. For Pollock, the only thing that is truly unchanging is change itself. The only certainty is that all is uncertain."
Apr 8th 2021
EXTRACT: "Many present day politicians appear to have psychopathic and narcissistic traits too. It’s easy to spot such leaders, because they are always authoritarian, following hardline policies. They try to subvert democracy, to reduce the freedom of the press and clamp down on dissent. They are obsessed with national prestige, and often persecute minority groups. And they are always corrupt and lacking in moral principles."
Apr 6th 2021
EXTRACT: "This has led some to claim that not just half, but perhaps nearly all advertising money is wasted, at least online. There are similar results outside of commerce. One review of field experiments in political campaigning argued “the best estimate of the effects of campaign contact and advertising on Americans’ candidates choices in general elections is zero”. Zero!"
Mar 30th 2021
EXTRACT: "The Father is an extraordinary film, from Florian Zeller’s 2012 play entitled Le Père and directed by Zeller. I’m here to tell you why it is a ‘must see’." EDITOR'S NOTE: The official trailer is attached to the review.
Mar 28th 2021
EXTRACT: "Picasso was 26 in 1907, when he completed the Demoiselles; de Kooning was 48 in 1952, when he finished Woman I.  The difference in their ages was not an accident, for studies of hundreds of painters have revealed a striking regularity - the conceptual painters who preconceive their paintings, from Raphael to Warhol, consistently make their greatest contributions earlier in their careers than experimental painters, from Rembrandt to Pollock, who paint directly, without preparatory studies."
Mar 26th 2021
EXTRACT: "Mental toughness levels are influenced by many different factors. While genetics are partly responsible, a person’s environment is also relevant. For example, both positive experiences while you’re young and mental toughness training programmes have been found to make people mentally tougher."
Mar 20th 2021

The city of Homs has been ravaged by war, leaving millions of people homeless an

Mar 20th 2021
EXTRACT: "There are two main rival models of ethics: one is based on rights, the other on duties. The rights-based model, which traces its philosophical origins to the work of John Locke in the 17th century, starts from the assumption that individuals have rights ....... According to this approach, duties are related to rights, but only in a subordinate role. My right to health implies a duty on my country to provide some healthcare services, to the best of its abilities. This is arguably the dominant interpretation when philosophers talk about rights, including human rights." ........ "Your right to get sick, or to risk getting sick, could imply a duty on others to look after you during your illness." ..... "The pre-eminence of rights in our moral compass has vindicated unacceptable levels of selfishness. It is imperative to undertake a fundamental duty not to get sick, and to do everything in our means to avoid causing others to get sick. Morally speaking, duties should come first and should not be subordinated to rights." ..... "Putting duties before rights is not a new, revolutionary idea. In fact it is one of the oldest rules in the book of ethics. Primum non nocere, or first do no harm, is the core principle in the Hippocratic Oath historically taken by doctors, widely attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher and physician Hippocrates. It is also a fundamental principle in the moral philosophy of the Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero, who in De Officiis (On Duties) argues that the first task of justice is to prevent men and women from causing harm to others."
Mar 18th 2021
EXTRACT: "Several studies have recently compared the difference between antibodies produced straight after a coronavirus infection and those that can be detected six months later. The findings have been both impressive and reassuring. Although there are fewer coronavirus-specific antibodies detectable in the blood six months after infection, the antibodies that remain have undergone significant changes. …….. the “mature” antibodies were better at recognising the variants."
Mar 15th 2021
EXTRACT: "Like Shakespeare, Goya sees evil as something existing in itself – indeed, the horror of evil arises precisely from its excess. It overflows and refuses to be contained by or integrated into our categories of reason or comprehension. By its very nature, evil refuses to remain within prescribed bounds – to remain fixed, say, within an economy where evil is counterbalanced by good. Evil is always excess of evil." ....... "Nowhere is this more evident than in war. Goya offers us a profound and sustained meditation on the nature of war ........ The image of a Napoleonic soldier gazing indifferently on a man who has been summarily hanged, probably by his own belt, expresses the tragedy of war – its dehumanization of both war’s victims and victors."
Mar 14th 2021
EXTRACT: "A blockchain company has bought a piece of Banksy artwork and burnt it. But instead of destroying the value of the art, they claim to have made it more valuable, because it was sold as a piece of blockchain art. The company behind the stunt, called Injective Protocol, bought the screen print from a New York gallery. They then live-streamed its burning on the Twitter account BurntBanksy. But why would anyone buy a piece of art just to burn it? Understanding the answer requires us to delve into the tricky world of blockchain or “NFT” art."
Mar 14th 2021
EXTRACT: "Exercise is good for your health at every age – and you can reap the benefits no matter how late in life you start. But our latest research has shown another benefit of being physically active throughout life. We found that in the US, people who were more physically active as teenagers and throughout adulthood had lower healthcare costs."
Mar 10th 2021
EXTRACT: "Although around one in 14 people over 65 have Alzheimer’s disease, there’s still no cure, and no way to prevent the disease from progressing. But a recent study may bring us one step closer to preventing Alzheimer’s. The trial, which was conducted on animals, has found a specific molecule can prevent the buildup of a toxic protein known to cause Alzheimer’s in the brain."
Feb 24th 2021
EXTRACT: "The art historian George Kubler observed that scholars in the humanities “pretend to despise measurement because of its ‘scientific’ nature.” As if to illustrate his point Robert Storr, former dean of Yale’s School of Art, declared that artistic success is “completely unquantifiable.” In fact, however, artistic success can be quantified, in several ways. One of these is based on the analysis of texts produced by art scholars, and this measure can give us a systematic understanding of how changes in recent art have produced changes in the canon of art history."
Feb 24th 2021
EXTRACT: "The most politically sensitive option we looked at was the virus escaping from a laboratory. We concluded this was extremely unlikely."
Feb 16th 2021
EXTRACT: ".... these men were completely unaware that they had put their lives in the hands of doctors who not only had no intention of healing them but were committed to observing them until the final autopsy – since it was believed that an autopsy alone could scientifically confirm the study’s findings. As one researcher wrote in a 1933 letter to a colleague, “As I see, we have no further interest in these patients until they die.” ...... The unquestionable ethical failure of Tuskegee is one with which we must grapple, and of which we must never lose sight, lest we allow such moral disasters to repeat themselves. "
Feb 14th 2021
EXTRACT: "In 2010 Carlos Rodriguez, the president of Buenos Aires' Universidad del CEMA, created the world's first - and only - Center for Creativity Economics.  During the next ten years, the CCE presented a number of short courses and seminars.  But the most important of its events was an annual lecture by an Argentine artist, who was given a Creative Career Award."
Feb 11th 2021
EXTRACT: "It’s not hard to see why. Although AI systems outperform humans in tasks that are often associated with a “high level of intelligence” (playing chess, Go, or Jeopardy), they are nowhere close to excelling at tasks that humans can master with little to no training (such as understanding jokes). What we call “common sense” is actually a massive base of tacit knowledge – the cumulative effect of experiencing the world and learning about it since childhood. Coding common-sense knowledge and feeding it into AI systems is an unresolved challenge. Although AI will continue to solve some difficult problems, it is a long way from performing many tasks that children undertake as a matter of course."
Feb 7th 2021
EXTRACT: "When it comes to being fit and healthy, we’re often reminded to aim to walk 10,000 steps per day. This can be a frustrating target to achieve, especially when we’re busy with work and other commitments. Most of us know by now that 10,000 steps is recommended everywhere as a target to achieve – and yet where did this number actually come from?"