Friday, February 27, 2015

Upcoming Artist Gallery Talk at Edward Hopper House March 6, 7 P.M.

Philip Koch,  Monhegan Dawn: Ochre, oil on panel 
6 1/2 x 13", 2015

On Friday, March 6 I'm giving a gallery talk in Nyack, NY about the work in the Edward Hopper House Art Center's current exhibition Philip Koch: Landscapes and Hopper Interiors. Naturally I've been mulling over what I want to say. The talk's at 7:00 and is free to the public. 

The show is taking place in the house where Hopper was born and grew up. It's situated on a rise one block above the open sweep of the Hudson River, something that played a huge role in his youthful imagination. Years later he would build a studio for himself atop an 80' sand dune overlooking the waters of Cape Cod Bay in Truro, MA. And if one visits that studio that Hopper himself designed down to the last nail, one can't help but be struck by how similar it is in feeling to his Nyack home. That's no accident.

Philip Koch, Sun in an Empty Room, vine charcoal,
9 x 12", 2012

Hopper put enormous stock in the most vivid of his childhood memories- images so strongly etched into his mind that they weren't eroded away by the passing decades. Chief among them was his delight at seeing sunlight streaming through his bedroom windows and playing its patterns across the walls and planks of its floor. 

From the home itself, to the rooftops of the houses running down to the Hudson River, one finds all the essential elements that would appear and re-appear in Hopper's paintings. 

Philip Koch, Edward Hopper's Truro Studio Kitchen II
oil on panel, 10 x 7 1/2", 2014

Philip Koch, Yellow Arcadia, oil on panel, 
30 x 40, 2006

I grew up in a home my parents built on a hill overlooking the shore of Lake Ontario, just outside of Rochester, NY. Then the area was mostly unsettled and I would play with the handful of other children there along the shore and on its the densely forested hills. 
As a teenager I longed to grow up and leave the area, and once I turned 18 I went off to college and never lived there again. 

But a funny thing happened. I started dreaming about the old neighborhood's rocky shore and the crazy patterns of sunlight filtering through the forest's canopy. These images came unbidden, marching back into my consciousness. And they gradually came to feel like old friends returning. For a few years I struggled with the disconnect between the art I was making and the these old images that were populating my mind. Finally I realized I should put them to use.

Philip Koch, Deer Isle, oil on panel, 36 x 72", 2009

One of the oils that most closely resembles what the shore by my childhood home looked like is this painting above, Deer Isle, which was painted in Maine. That's probably why I made it.

Artists, when they've done powerful work, are teaching us lessons. 

One of them surely is to slow down and take a second look at ones immediate surroundings. Much of what is around you at any given moment is forgettable.  But alongside of those are a few fragments that mysteriously insert themselves into your memory. You find yourself carrying with you the feeling of the corner of your old bedroom or the way the shadows moved in late afternoons across your backyard. This is a good thing. This is some extra new vocabulary you will use for the rest of your life to describe yourself to yourself. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Opening Reception: Edward Hopper House Art Center

Here's a selection of photos from the Edward Hopper House Art Center in Nyack, NY of their opening reception for their new feature exhibition Philip Koch: Landscapes and Hopper Interiors that was held Saturday, Feb. 22. 

Carole Perry, the Executive Artistic Director of the Art Center did a tremendous job hanging the show and sensitively lighting the works. Honestly I think this is one of my all time favorites of solo exhibitions I have had over the years. The work will be on display through April 12, 2015.

Philip Koch in front of his oil The Voyage of Memory, with the oils 
White Thicket in the middle Yellow Arcadia at the right.

Deer Isle, oil on panel, 36 x 72" at right.

Above the mantel: The Voyage of Memory, oil on canvas, 38 x 38"

Some of the smaller works in the Hallway Gallery of the Art Center. Upper left: Sun in an Empty Rood: Blue, oil on panel 12 x 16", top middle: Sun in an Empty Room II, vine charcoal, 7 x 14" and Below middle: Sun in an Empty Room III, vine    charcoal, 9 x 12" (which I drew in the room directly upstairs that as Edward Hopper's bedroom).

Illuminated sign in front of the Edward Hopper House Art Center

In the far gallery, Road to the Shore, oil on canvas, 42 x 28"

Philip Koch between the oils Yellow Arcadia and The Reach IV

Left: White Thicket, oil on linen 28 x 42", Right: Edward 
Hopper's Parlor, Nyack, oil on linen, 32 x 24"

Top: Monhegan Dawn: Ochre oil on panel, 6 1/2 x 13"
Bottom: White Mountains: Warm Sky, oil on panel, 9 x 12"

Philip Koch with his oil The Voyage of Memory, 38 x 38"

Philip's wife Alice with Edward Hopper's Rooms by the Sea II,
oil on panel 18 x 27 and at right Deer Isle, oil on panel, 36 x 72"

At left part of Edward Hopper's Parlor, Nyack, which was painted 
in the same room in Hopper's house where it is now hanging, 
and in the far gallery, Road to the Shore, oil on canvas, 42 x 28.

I will post an additional group of photos from the exhibition shortly in a new blog post.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Exhibition at Edward Hopper House Art Center

I am just back from Nyack, NY where I was on hand for the installation of the Edward Hopper House Art Center's upcoming feature exhibition Philip Koch: Landscapes and Hopper Interiors.
The show will officially open with a reception on Saturday, Feb. 14 from 5-7p.m. Please come and say hello!

Here is a photo of the installation in progress in the Hopper House's main galleries. I am pressed for time now so I won't be writing a usual blog post, but I did want to show a quick selection of some of the works to be displayed.

Here is the freshly shoveled front walk to Edward Hopper House Art Center- no doubt young Edward Hopper shoveled it clear more than a few times in his day.

White Thicket, oil on linen, 28 x 42"

Edward Hopper's Parlor, Nyack, oil on linen,
32 x 24", 2015

Deer Isle,  oil on panel, 36 x 72", 2008

Truro Studio Kitchen, pastel, 6 x 8", 2010

Edward Hopper's Truro Studio Kitchen II, oil on panel
10 x 7 1/2"

Hopper's Beach, Looking North, vine charcoal, 9 x 12", 2007
This is the view from the beach on Cape Cod Bay directly
below Hopper's Truro, MA studio.