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Showing posts from December, 2018

Winslow Homer at the Brandywine River Museum of Art

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Winslow Homer, Eight Bells, oil on canvas, 1886, Addison  Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA

Right before Christmas my wife Alice and I drove up from Baltimore to the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, PA to see their exhibition Winslow Homer: Photography and the Art of Painting. Organized by the Bowdoin College Museum of Art Co-Director Frank H. Goodyear and Dana Byrd, an art history professor at Bowdoin, the show runs through Feb. 14, 2019. Included in the show is a camera that had belonged to Homer. It's a treat to see this artifact from another time- it's partly made of wood!
Along with photos Homer had taken, the curators pulled together  a stunning group of Homer oils from several museums. 
Homer was incredibly sensitive to the design of his paintings. Here's an example:

His two mariners work together to squeeze the empty space between them into an expressive shape of its own. Though they're both dressed in the same foul weather gear Homer creates two …

Two Paintings Many Meanings

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I was moving paintings around my studio last week and temporarily leaned one of my landscapes against another. Something about how the two oils looked together struck me so I let them remain that way for awhile. Accidentally the two canvases had fallen into a conversation. The very different spaces in these paintings seemed to suggest very different states of mind. One used the panoramic view to talk of a wide open expansiveness. The other of a purposely narrowed-down focus on feelings more intimate and personal.
Edward Hopper famously said "If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint." As elastic as our spoken languages are, I'm convinced much or even most of our experience lies just beyond the grasp of words. The two large oils of mine in the photo above juxtapose two very different  parts of our inner experience. 


Philip Koch, Chestnut Ridge Panorama, oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches, 2018
Sometimes our thoughts and feelings seem to race out away from us…