As leaves of autumn transition in our try-state region, Eisele Gallery presents twelve descriptive plein air paintings by Joseph Orr. Orr’s contemporary depictions of rural American landscape are executed in acrylic, a medium he has championed over 40 years. Orr, along with his wife Rita and two other artists, founded the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) in 1990. A resident in Osage County, Missouri, Orr has authored several books on the plein air experience and takes inspiration in the environs of the immediate vicinity of his studio as well as during his travels.
Spanning every season, each composition presents the viewer with specific descriptions of typically anonymous sites that lend themselves to the artist’s lyrical powers. Meandering streams, creeks and rivers are a revisited element in several of the compositions.
“Winter Palette” is one such example. Under the sullen lead grey skies of winter, a group of crows flies over a meandering stream partially frozen in a valley of stripped saplings. Dappled in warm sunlight, a lone conifer tree befriends you on the shoreline. Patches of melting snow give way to the sun’s warmth, exposing autumnal leaves as tall grasses sway in the wind, adding texture and interest in the blue shadowed foreground.
“Return of the Dry Season” is a 30″x 30″ acrylic on canvas exemplifying bucolic autumnal beauty.
Orr’s impressionistic touches of muted oranges hint at late season leaves lingering on the middle ground copses. A silvery stream takes your eye back to the very foot of misted lavender grey hills. The sentinel figure of a lone sycamore towers over the center of this composition at the corner of the cleared sunlit glen. Dappled cows graze before the sheltering red barn.
Orr’s acrylic “River Walk”, a small 9″ x 12″ panel, cuts no aesthetic corners by comparison. My favorite elements that distinguish this composition are the nicely rendered mature trees silhouetted against the delicately clouded sky. These hover protectively over the small varietal bush so fittingly placed on the shoreline. A gracefully assembled cluster of white brush strokes evokes wild birds seeking refuge in the estuary. On close examination, there is no avian description, only daubs of paint making a credible representation.
“Summer Outing” completes the seasonal calendar. A simple frame farm house is nestled before a steeply sloping hill. In the left foreground, the rise on the side of the road echoes the graceful angular line. Single stroke fence posts defend the cleared apron on which several chickens feed. A small secondary building out back repeats the architecture of the farmhouse’s main frame. Orr includes a porch swing reminding us of the sweet solace when chores are done. This painting is also acrylic on a 9″ x 12″ panel.
Orr’s paintings reveal his brisk brush work that accounts for the textural surface of his representations. His compositions are well balanced with delicate nuances that celebrate the experience of quiet human observation in natural environs. Overall his works record a highly natural rendering of shapes and textures in his personally observed scenes.
“Landscapes of America” is accompanied by a generous selection of related works from the gallery collection, blending contemporary works and historic collectables. Exhibition is on view through November 30th, 2020.
“Landscapes in America” Opened on October 31st at Eisele Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio