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A Sizzling Summertime Post

One of the benefits of relocating from Baltimore to north of New York City is the train ride from Albany into the city. The Amtrak ambles along the Hudson River. It’s a magnificent sight even in the rain and fog. The river has come a long way from its toxic past, and it’s common to see a half-dozen bald eagles fishing the waters. Of course the Hudson still has a ways to go and will never return to its pristine past, but this week it’s impossible to gaze out the train window at the natural beauties and not consider the tragedy going on in the Gulf region. While the Hudson River has been tormented by industrial wastes for centuries, the Gulf appears to be all but lost, unrecoverable. The Hudson River Valley has long been a draw for artists, writers, and musicians, spawning a host of concerts, festivals, and gallery exhibits. As I’ve mentioned before, the town of Hudson, just a train stop from my studio, has one of the most active art scenes in the region (a great wine bar -- very important) and several good galleries.

John Davis consistently has some of the better shows of painters and sculptors, including this month’s exhibit, which includes Laurel Sucsy’s paintings. Small in scale, Sucsy’s works are a subtle patchwork of painterly strokes that reminded me of an aerial view of a lush landscape or an intently observed still life. At her best, Sucsy orchestrates a quiet unity from potential chaos. That’s a gift we should all be searching for. The current exhibit is up through July 18th.

Here's a list of shows to see further down the tracks, in NYC. Drawing is alive and well with Rackstraw Downes's exhibit at Betty Cunningham. Downes renders his austere forgotten landscapes with poise and grandeur. A.C.M.'s mixed media assemblages are wonders, and Rigo 23's ink drawings of predator drones, on recycled elephant dung (it's apparently available in Thailand), are a strong dose of reality at Andrew Edlin. Right next door at Lori Bookstein's almost new Chelsea space, whose shows have so far consistently wowed me, are Louise Kruger's not so folksy fabric wall hangings and carved wood figures.

Small, though rare at Jack Shainman, is good with Leslie Waynes's organically shaped sculptural paintings. It's a very unique process, with some very interesting results. Another interesting result with paint is at Lehman Maupin and Allison Schulnic's thickly impastoed painting Rug Girl. She's totally exposed and vulnerable, with a come-hither, confident beauty. Also in this show is a wonderful woven straw piece by Brazilian artist Maria Nepomuceno that seems to have sprouted from the gallery wall across the floor and may inhabit the whole space by August. Continuing with the exposed theme is Kelli Williams at Leo Koening: snakes and lace and flesh, oh my!

Steven Haller has another rare stunner of a painting by Linda Stojak in his summer show. Stojak apparently is not a prolific painter, but her intensely brooding work is worth the wait.

And many prints -- it may be because of the economy, but they're still in the 20k range: Sikkema Jenkins has a new suite of aquatints by Kara Walker and Amy Cutler, Elizabeth Peyton, and Lisa Yuskavage at Senior Shopmaker. Looking forward to a Thomas Nozkowski works on paper show there in February. Lastly for this post, a monumental 60s Mark Di Suvero at Paula Cooper: gotta love big industrial. My postings are growing scarce with summer upon us, but there is much to see and I'll try my best to post, including advanced lobster research in Maine this week.

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