Fine Art Notebook™

The art world in general, NY, South Florida and Italy in particular…

Sylvia Plimack Mangold at the Norton Museum of Art

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sylvia plimack mangold

I’m finally writing again after more than a month of not feeling well.  The fog is slowly lifting as I sort through everything that got neglected and I’m still not quite 100 percent.  However, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see an exhibit from an artist that works in my favorite region of the world, the Hudson River Valley.  I was born there.  I lived on the Hudson River for 10 years.  My window faced the Tappan Zee Bridge.

I miss it every day.  Wait, let me say that again.  I miss it every single day.

So, I was not going to miss seeing Sylvia Plimack Mangold: Landscape and Trees, which opened at the Norton Museum of Art this past weekend.  I attended the preview on Thursday with curator Cheryl Brutvan and on Sunday I attended a public event with Cheryl and Sylvia.

I got teary eyed while looking at Plimack Mangold’s paintings of the Maple, Elm, Locust and Pin Oak trees that surround her studio in Washingtonville, NY, also the hometown to NY’s oldest winery, Brotherhood.  It also happens to lie in between Goshen and Middletown, areas I drove to often as a kid with my parents when we’d pick up and return my beloved, and now departed stepbrother Greg. So, this is a place that really has a special place in my heart.  Plus, it’s less than 50 miles south of the Catskills where Thomas Cole worked.

I liked the exhibit very much.  I’m a tad more emotional in my approach to the subliminal beauty of the region, however, than Plimack Mangold, who emerges from the Minimalist tradition.  But no matter how analytical and heady one may be, it’s hard not to capture the essence of what makes the Hudson Valley so beautiful when you’re painting its landscapes and trees.

I submitted my review to the Palm Beach ArtsPaper yesterday, but I only had 800 words, which was a challenge because Brutvan provided many references and information in the exhibit’s accompanying catalog.  And, despite the subject matter, Plimack Mangold’s work is complex and requires both context and explanation to really fully “get” it.

Up next: I’m now reading through books given to me by Andrew Stevovich, one of my favorite American painters and my next subject, and then want to contact an Italian photographer named Mauro D’Agati….


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