Friday, July 29, 2016

In That Enchanted Place On Top of the Forest

The galleries were set up as a timeline, starting with early American art and going up through contemporary.  The museum was set up in a way that was really easy to navigate; start at the beginning and walk through.  No different sections, rooms that don't connect with anything else, or having to go back because you missed a room.  So many museums are like that.  Granted, most of them are housed in old buildings, or don't have the luxury of being built from the ground up on a large, open site, but still, it was quite nice.

The earlier rooms were filled with lots of peaceful landscapes.  My favorite town scene (the first one above), Winter Scene In Brooklyn, 1820, was painted by Francis Guy.  It was the view out of his second floor studio.  There is so much happening in the snowy streets, but rather than the sky being just a swath of blue, there is much drama there too.  The second, pastoral scene, Haystacks, Martin Johnson Heade, 1871, is very soothing.  The haystacks in the late evening wait patiently for the storm in the background to roll by.

After the landscapes was a hall filled with nature studies.  I enjoyed these birds, Gems of Brazil, also by Martin Johnson Heade, 1863.  I don't think they would be as impressive on their own, but grounded in a foursome, the different colors, species of bird, and landscape they are in really stand out.

I continued on to a larger room with a curved ceiling that housed the famous Lantern Bearers by Maxfield Parrish, 1908.  The blue background is deep and striking against the yellow lanterns that almost look as though they are actually lit up.  The bearers fall to the mid ground, as the dark and light fully captivate you.

I moved on towards the contemporary section, where there was this amazing hallway which was the inside of one of the armadillo roofs.  It was sunny and warm, and the wood of the ceiling beams contrasted so nicely with the glass walls and lighter wood floor.

Inside that little white box was this colorful, straight-lined piece, Motive of Space and Form - A New Jersey Village (Montville) by Oscar Bluemner, 1915.  A mix between the Fauve's use of color and expression, and the boxiness of Cubism, it is quite intriguing.

This rather strange painting, Supine Woman, 1963, is by one of Taylor's favorites, Wayne Thiebaud.  The color sections really stand out against the white background and dress.  His mix of blues and oranges, often put on in excessive quantity, give the painting texture.  I find it to be much more interesting up close.

And this near photo-realism painting, Reflections of the Woolworth Building, Richard Estes, 2006, was amazingly detailed.  The reflections give it away that it is a painting, but they are still so realistic.

But this one is the winner of the day, titled Landscape, by Mark Tansey, 1994.  It is massive, taking up a whole wall.  The varied deepness of the red pigment gives it so much depth.  There is so much going on.  The two close-ups below are just tiny little section of it, but they could each be whole paintings in themselves!

The contemporary wing was the end of the galleries, which led to another beautiful wood ceilinged structure.  It was nearing dinner time, so I headed on my way.  I wanted to stop and check in to my hotel before meeting up with my friend, Emily, for drinks and dinner.  We met up in the old downtown square area, starting at a small brewery and going to a tavern-type place for dinner.  After that we walked the square before heading out.  It was great catching up; we covered everything from our current lives, the usual Drury gossip, and of course we reminisced about our old Zeta days.  It was a great day filled with interesting art and reconnecting with an old friend.

(photos by e.hunt)

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