UPCOMING EVENTS AND EXHIBITIONS
We are pleased to announce that Ben Fenske will have a solo show in New York City at the Union League Club courtesy of the Grenning Gallery from September 5th through September 30th
The public is invited to the Opening Reception of Ben Fenske NYC Solo Show Wednesday, September 10th from 5:00pm - 7:30pm
Union League Club, Located on 38th East 37th Street, New York, NY
The public is invited to the Opening Reception of Summer Landscapes on Saturday August 30th, from 6:00 to 8:00pm, at Grenning Gallery, 17 Washington Street in Sag Harbor, NY. The show hangs through Sunday September 28th. We are also excited to announce that we are re-expanding the gallery to include the loft space in order to accommodate our prolific painters.
“Summer Landscapes” is out catchall group show to present the local plein air work of our artists, most of whom travel from far to paint the East End all summer. Nelson White’s best work from the last few years of Plein Air painting will anchor the show. We are especially excited about his most recent painting of Mashomack Point. Its scale and vibrancy remains unmatched! We are also debuting new smaller works by Nelson, and several new trademark umbrella paintings from Via Reggio.
Ben Fenske’s obsession with local light effects is examined closely and beautifully expressed in his paintings of Montauk, Gibson Beach and Short Beach in Sag Harbor. “Short Beach” truly captures those gorgeous tonal values of Long Beach at sunset.
Ramiro presents a major work of Gibson Beach, which was created mostly from a small sketch in his studio. The vibration of colors and movement of the wave is delicious in this large-scale painting. We also see a series of smaller local scenes, which usually get snapped up quickly. Melissa Franklin, with their new baby bobbing in the baby Bjorn, painted a lovely series of East End paintings as well.
Daniel Graves’s presents a whole series of backlit romantic landscapes, and several beautifully rendered street scenes form rustic Italy. Leo Mancini-Hresko will also show two great new works, which capture the lovely summer light through the trees, and a sultry lily pond.
We would also like to introduce Hal DeWaltoff of Cape Cod. His painting trip to Amagansett earlier this summer yielded a few bright little gems, which caught my eye. We are pleased to show this new painter in our Summer Landscape show.
Fenske’s solo show is rich in color and variety, as always, but with an added heft this year, as we unveil his largest painting to date. Inspired by a visit to Plastov's studio, a 20th century Russian artist in Moscow last September, Fenske painted the physical and emotional anchor to this show, the glorious figurative work “Florence, Olive Tree” which is 67 x 79 inches.This scale of the painting is rarely seen from these classically trained contemporary realists. Fenske was invited to Russia by the Minister of Culture to join notable Russian painters on a plein air painting trip. After researching his interest in the Russian painters, we have a newfound respect for Fenske's role in this Poetic Realist movement.
Fenske is becoming a linchpin artist, reuniting the split yet parallel traditions that developed in impressionist and realist painting, starting with the Russian Revolution and not ending until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Having trained in the Bougie Studio, which is a direct descendent of Ives Gammel, and the Euro-American impressionist and realist movements, as well as a brief stint at the Florence Academy of Art, Fenske has spent the last several years actively researching and studying the Russian painting and sculpting traditions. Fenske’s bold choices of everyday subjects and rigorous focus on light effects in nature speak of the Russian influence, while his meticulous adherence to accurate drawing and appropriate values show his Euro-American influences. Whether it’s a vase of flowers, a nude on a bed, or a dramatic moonscape, we delight in his accurate yet unfettered expressionist brushstrokes.
Fenske’s interest in Russian painting was piqued by his visits to the Museum of Russian Art (TMORA) which is based in Minneapolis, MN, his home state. Filled with some of the finest paintings from the late 19th up through mid 20th century, this museum has set Fenske on an original path, which has exposed him to another family tree of artists that were largely undiscovered in our country until after the wall came down in 1989. At that time, Raymond E. Johnson, an art dealer in 19th and 20th century American Realist art, along with other experts armed with knowledge that Russia had upheld other classical arts, including dance, music, theatre and literature, went there to search for interesting paintings. Over the following 13 years he built a business and collection of the greatest, yet lesser known, painters from Russia. He founded the museum in 2002, and Fenske wandered in there shortly thereafter. This is where he first saw Plastov and the Tkachev brothers, who Fenske has been researching and looking at ever since.
Arkady Aleksandrovich Plastov (1893-1972), was considered one of the major Socialist Realist painters, but is best known for his painting “Spring” which is a purely humanist painting of a woman stepping out of her sauna to speak with a little girl (you can see it at tretyakovagallery.ru – search Plastov, there are only two in the museum). This work is famous because it visually captured a “thaw” in the dogma from the state, and it marks the point at which Russian painters started to paint more personal subjects. As one of the top students from the Moscow Art School, and protégé of Serov and Arkhipov, Plastov caught Fenske's eye with his large-scale figurative work, especially the scenes of village life, painted en plein air. Plastov was initially compelled to paint propaganda mostly, then as the 20th Century wore on, the Socialist Realists were permitted to paint more personal works. Fenske was drawn to these more personal paintings. He is fascinated by Plastov's ability to paint people and animals, inside and outside, under wide ranging light effects, all infused with a sense that the painter had intimate knowledge of his subjects. Toward this goal, Fenske has achieved a lot in this show. This exhibition is filled with paintings that sensitively and accurately reflect his every day life, ranging from intimate interiors, to portraits, to landscapes in and around his home, to a thoughtful and emotional major scale figurative painting created in his back yard. Bravo!