The best public park views in the world are the subject matter of the best painters in the current exhibit at Eisele Gallery, Cincinnati.

Mountain tops and serene valleys, rushing waves, hot springs and thermal pools are moulded into aesthetic statements by the nationally noted artists in a variety of media: oil, acrylic, pastel and photography.

There is a little something for everyone in the variety of styles.  In this curated exhibition, stylistic trends vary from romantic, to hyper-realism to highly interpretive color expressive and color pattern abstract, allowing the art enthusiast to embrace fresh perspectives.

I also suggest that the viewer pause to read the accompanying artist statements on many of the paintings. These will reveal the artists’ reasons for selecting the site, their personal goals with the painting or the backstory on the camping or hiking experience,  adding perspective and empathy to the viewing of the work.

A riot of color characterizes the selected works by Moira Donohoe. Her work entitled “Estuary” is an impression of a river view on the Lost Coast of northern California in the Kings Range National Conservation Area.  The artist describes experiencing the fleeting light which she found to be both peaceful and invigorating at the same time. Her use of traditional brush is augmented with the palette knife as she employed reds, yellows and straight greens to express emotion and mood. This work is also in an equi-sided format which makes it decidedly contemporary in taste.

“Avalanche Lake” by Kathleen B. Hudson also employs the square format at 36×36″. While viewing Bearhat Mountain and the Little Matterhorn in Glacier National Park, Montana, Hudson was inspired by the atmospheric phenomenona dramatically unfolding over the mountain streams cascading into the lake below.  I enjoyed the sun-ensconced sky with   handsomely rendered clouds and mists. The mountain streams are effectively executed as mere flicks of the wrist with a loaded brush. This painting has an arresting credibility while instilling a poetic aesthetic in the landscape.

Hudson has another oil in the extreme landscape format, that is not landmarked with a named mountain or ridge.  Her brush captures the glint of the light on the rolling ridge. Strong brushstrokes then playfully cascade through the natural roll of the land, expressively communicating the pleasure of simply experiencing the roll and reel of the ground in a personal solitude.

Solitude is the expressed experience in the basin of the valley in the painting “Into the Winds” by Chuck Marshall.  The scene shows the Green River coming out of the Wind River Range in Wyoming, a spectacular area that is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

The depth of the image is emphasized by the lone dark evergreen which raises its arms on the edge of the water in the foreground. A small figure of a moose in the stream adds scale to the distance to the majestic lavender ranges.

Bill Farnsworth exhibits a painting entitled “Lonely at the Top”. This artist was visiting friends in the Nantahala National Forest, North Carolina, when he captured the glorious sunset over the receding river basin. A mature solitary pine spreads its branches in pantheistic prayer, a towering silhouette whose dark form challenges the brilliant sky.

The extreme vertical format of 12″ x 24″ is uniquely employed by Todd Channer in his painting “Grand Stone”. Taken from the south rim of the Grand Canyon, Channer’s color palette is almost exclusive limited to burnt oranges complemented by cobalt blues and light blue greys, pushing the spectacular view to the edge of abstraction.

One of this writer’s favorite pieces is by John Budicin, entitled “Working Late”.  It embraces a beautiful late evening light on the Pusch Ridge, in River Walk Park, Arizona. In the panel statement, the artist describes having completed a long and tiring day, only to discover fresh inspiration in the final minutes of light lingering on the imposing ridge range.

Cascading forms defer to the right and the face of each facet is defined with a sky reflecting shadow lined with a brilliant blue cast shadow.  The golden light mellows to lush olive greens, tapering into mauve-grey tones in the flatland of the basin. It is a lovely poetic experience capturing the golden ‘magic’ last light of the day.

My final remarks must include the photography series of Carlton Hagberg. My strongest impression was “Yellow Cloud”, a 24″x30″ image produced in dye sublimation print on aluminum panel. To quote the artist: “This billowing hot spring caught my attention because of its color and the contrast with the blue sky and the white cloud it was rising to meet.”

This rare and distinctive moment in the natural world where hot springs spiral to the cool blue of heaven, reveal the truly never-ending beauty and wonder of our Mother Earth.

Exhibition continues at Eisele Gallery through May 25th, 2019.

–Marlene Steele

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