Hudson Valley, Take 2

New Hudson/Second Nature
The Living Room, Cold Spring, NY
The Hudson Valley was, to the Hudson River School of painters, a glorious and inspirational place. Today, after a century and a half of industrialization and development, a good bit of what once was is gone and the otherworldly beauty that defined the Hudson Valley has disappeared with it.

The five artists who have been selected for New Hudson/Second Nature by curator Suzanne Ball give you the idea that, despite the changes, the Hudson Valley remains a powerful draw for the more creative among us.

Doug and Mike Starn, two cutting-edge photographers who have owned art star status since the mid-1980s, take the most traditional route here. The directness of their work results in a certain amount of drama, as if the landscape holds many secrets and stories left to be told. Additionally, their familiar use of black and white prints, cellophane tape, and tinted or varnished paper makes for an immediate connection between the viewer and the Hudson Valley’s past.

Michael Zelehoski’s wall constructions remind me of the art of John Okulick, who created colorful, geometrically cut, and pieced together wall-mounted assemblages back in the early 1980s. Where Okulick tended toward a more playfully presented perspective, Zelehoski’s assemblages are more about the space between reality and perception. By cutting and re-shaping found materials to suggest greater depth and perspective, Zelehoski challenges his viewer’s orientation within their everyday surroundings.

Anxiety is a key element in the art of Kathy Feighery. In her series of creepy flower paintings, Feighery puts forth an uneasy place where danger trumps beauty and detail becomes sinister. In her two larger paintings, Tongue Tied and Twisted (2012), and Twisted Sister, Feighery shows her unrelenting persistence to reconstruct her thoughts and ideas with decisively selective over-painting. 

Enlightenment is found in the meditative aspects of the fractal, as it is endless and infinite. In one room at the center of the exhibition space, visitors will find a constructed, simplified symbol of Buddha with Carl Van Brunt's five digitally based compositions projected over and beyond it on a backing wall. This room, which I see as being purely about the spirit, is a testament to this artist’s determination to find true inner peace. - D. Dominick Lombardi


Michael Zelehoski: Hank (2011), Assemblage with found pallet and painted plywood, 44” x 60".

Carl Van Brunt: Video Projection of the Triple Zero series (2012) on Plaster Sculpture. Approx. 38” Tall.

Mr. Lombardi is an artist with representation at the Kim Foster Gallery in New York, a writer with The Huffington Post, ARTslant, and d'ART, and an independent curator.