Still | Life | Like
Carrie Haddad Gallery is pleased to present Still | Life| Like, an exhibit that explores the still life genre with a contemporary lens. With the use of photography, painting, and sculptural installation this group of artists give traditional subject a modern twist by transforming ordinary objects with a hyperrealist and, in one case, highly abstracted style. Derived from the Dutch word stilleven, the still life has been a consistent theme in art history, dating as far back as the 15th century BCE where it was used in Egyptian funerary paintings. Having been reinterpreted over thousands of years, the art of the still life lies in its unique ability to externalize introspections of the artist using a subject that is relatable. The artists in this exhibit, David Halliday, Frank DePietro, James O’Shea, Chad Kleitsch, and Kate Hamilton, continue that dialogue. Work by emerging artist, Bryan Meador, will be on view on the second floor. The exhibit will be on view April 24th – June 9th, with an artists’ reception on Saturday, April 27 from 5-7pm. All are welcome to attend.
David Halliday will exhibit a new body of images in continuation of a series first began in Greece in 2007. While reminiscent of previous work in its examination of texture, shape, and form, his subjects take on a mind of their own, getting up and off the confines of the tabletop. In Walking Grapes, tree branches and grape vines come alive after being situated in an upright stance that curiously resembles a moving figure. The images are often split at the middle into two planes, allowing David to articulate how he experiences color and material relationships. Tops or ‘heads’, if you will, of pomegranates, bougainvillea flowers and chopped wood are mixed and matched with ‘torsos’ of olive and fig branches that pose against stucco walls in surroundings of colorful shotgun shells, lavender greens, or dusty concrete. Halliday never ceases to intrigue viewers, as his subjects are transported from the mundane into a realm of fantastical beauty. The simple juxtaposition of a black olive leaning on a yellow lemon; the sheer elegance of freshly caught fish splayed on a blue table; this exhibit promises to show the sublime inner workings of the artist’s mind. David Halliday has shown with the gallery for over 25 years and has went on to exhibit nationally and in Europe. He now lives and works in Schodack Landing, NY.
Using scanning technology, Chad Kleitsch revolutionizes the time-honored still life subject; a single flower. Botanical Mind, a series he started almost twenty years ago in 2001, is comprised of portraits that present the flower’s blossom not only as the subject but as the medium itself. While living and working at a Zen Mountain Monastery in the Catskills, Kleitsch was at the forefront of experimenting with scanography in the mid 1990’s when the affordability of flatbed scanners made them more accessible. The subject, be it a flower, a sheer nightgown, a child’s bib; is placed on the scanner and backlit with a high intensity light that penetrates through the object as though it were a sheet of film or slide, reproducing an effect like that of a stained-glass window. This process is also explored via Works on Paper, including a handwritten letter by Emily Dickinson, a hand addressed envelope by Mary Cole (Thomas Cole's daughter), and choreography notes by dancer Lucinda Childs. Contrary to mere reproductions, the scanned objects are in fact transformed by light and become something else entirely. Frozen in time, Kleitsch invites us to really stop and smell the roses. Chad Kleitsch’s work has been featured in numerous gallery and museum exhibitions and he currently resides in Rhinecliff, NY.
Sculptor, costumer, and designer Kate Hamilton returns with a series of life-size garments cut and sewn from archival glassine paper. In a departure from her nearly room-filling installation pieces, most recently a Bonnet and Pussy-Bow Blouse, Hamilton downscales and approaches her subject on a more intimate level. The delicate nature of using paper instead of cloth allows her to explore “the fragile and ephemeral nature of life.” Strung from the gallery walls, the translucent glassine garments, wrinkled and shaped into established forms, act as ghost-like reminders of an absent body. Hamilton’s kinetic sculptures have been exhibited at museums, galleries, and festivals in New York, Canada, and Zurich. She recently commissioned one of her signature oversized shirt installations for the Albany Airport. Kate Hamilton lives and works in New Paltz.
In his inaugural exhibit at the gallery, Frank DePietro will exhibit selections from his Lotus series. With oil paintings ranging 16-inches square to 5 feet tall, DePietro captures the lotus plant in breathtaking hyperrealist detail. The lush green plants portrayed in various stages, from pod to full bloom, are situated in close view against an opaque sky blue or grey background. In his observation of nature, the artist uses techniques of photo-realism, color field and hard edge painting to display “cycles of decay and regeneration”. The universal familiarity with this leafy plant allows us to appreciate the artist’s high level of skill as he scales up even the tiniest of details. DePietro received his BFA from Bloomsburg University in 1997, where he majored in Painting and Ceramics with a minor in Art History. He later earned an Art Education degree and went on to teach at several museums, art centers and schools around Philadelphia. The artist now lives in Chester County, PA where he continues to paint and teach at the Delaware Art Museum and Longwood Gardens.
James O’Shea lives in the world of abstraction, but even his completely unrecognizable imagery is derived from life. The skeleton of a wintry landscape has often been cited as a point of departure for O’Shea’s gestural oil paintings. Taking cues from his titles, color block squares readily take on the form of Backyard Pool as seen from an aerial perspective. More recently, traces of real life can be found in mixed media works – Nude on Green Sheets has collaged curved forms that wrap sensuously around a ground painted in green encaustic and Buy Me a Bicycle looks as though it could be tipped on its side and rolled away on its wheels. James O’Shea attended the City and Guilds of London Art School, as well as Goldsmith’s College and the University of London.
With a background in commercial photography, emerging artist Bryan Meador focuses on the still life genre to explore the two facets of digital imagery – the representation of the image and its manipulation. In a series called Ideographs/Empty Vases, Meador shows how photography and painting coexist in one work. A digital image of an ancient vase is depicted on a white plane against a solid, primary color. Each vase is then filled with line drawings of bouquets in varying arrangements, conveying a silhouette of the floral form. Meador’s work begs to ask why photographic images are so easily accepted as truth, when in fact, there stands the possibility for as much manipulation to the photographed image as there is freedom in painting. Meador earned a BFA from Parsons and currently lives in Tannersville.
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