Steve Dolan is a worthy successor to the Hudson River Painters — so much so that this New Hampshire native, when he first visited the Mountain Top area of the Catskills, was so taken with it that he decided to move to Hunter and pursue his passion for painting the spectacular (his word) scenery he found there. Now his long hours of creativity have come to fruition in a new exhibit at the Kaaterskill Fine Arts Gallery, Main Street, Hunter. Entitled “Atmospheres of Hunter and Beyond,” Steve’s exhibit features a generous selection of his paintings mostly from the region around Hunter but also a few from the White Mountains of his native New Hampshire.
You can read an interview with Steve on the Catskill Mountain Foundation’s website and learn more about his background and what inspires him as an artist. The Hudson River Painters are clearly an influence — I thought particularly of Thomas Cole and especially some of his more “fantastic” (my word) paintings. But let me not waste time trying to describe Steve’s extraordinary work — I took a couple of quick photos when I stopped in last week just after the show had been hung, and I hope they will give you some idea of his approach to his art, but most of all, I urge you to go and see his show. It’s at the Kaaterskill Fine Arts Gallery between now and July 5, with an opening reception this Saturday May 30 from 2 to 4 pm and an art talk on June 20 from 1 to 2 pm.
Click here to read the details, including the interview with Steve and information about opening times. “Atmospheres of Hunter and Beyond” — don’t miss it.
Not only did I treat my car to a much needed car wash today but, better yet, in the process I donated a few dollars to the Red Bird Mission, a faith-based outreach in which young people travel to Kentucky to assist poor people with getting the things that they need, such as building houses. Last year a Confirmation class from St. Anastasia’s Catholic Church in Harriman donated their time and energy to help in Appalachia; the young people I met today come from the local United Methodist Church.
Not only do the young people give generously of their time and physical resources — they also have to raise money to be able to make the trip, and that’s what today’s car wash was in aid of. Pastor Wendy Paige explained to me that it costs $375 per young person just to travel to Kentucky, and they must raise the money themselves.
Given the recent hard winter and the even more recent pollen storm that left local cars a muddy mess, what better fundraiser than a car wash? They worked hard and they were thorough. And the donation they requested was free will — you gave what you wanted to give.
The group will be washing cars at the United Methodist Church in nearby Monroe next Saturday. If you’re in the area and need your car washed — or even if you just want to make a donation, as I noticed some people doing who didn’t need or have time for a car wash — please come on by!
A really remarkable exhibit entitled “Catskill Remains” featuring the photography of John P. O’Grady has been showing at the Kaaterskill Fine Arts center in Hunter since April. It closes on Sunday May 17 and I only just had the opportunity to see it on May 10. If you’re anywhere near the area before it closes, I very strongly recommend going to have a look.
What’s good to say about Mr. O’Grady’s work? Consider this:
- He’s a Renaissance man — an author, a historian, a man with an amazing variety of interests. This informs his work. Obviously a highly intelligent man with his own very personal starting point for his photography, he refreshingly avoids both the “trendy” and the self-conscious attempt to be superficially “original.”
- Having said that, I must say that Mr. O’Grady’s photos are unique and original, but not gimmicky. No, never gimmicky, either in composition or in technique,
- Speaking of technique: He doesn’t speak about it. At least, he doesn’t mention f-stops, focal lengths, shutter speeds, equipment, or postprocessing software in a recent interview for the Catskill Mountain Region Guide, and you’ll be hard put to find anything about it on his website. http://www.tuckabold.com/ His photography is out there to inspire you, to make you think, and he doesn’t get hung up on explaining to you how he did it.
- I found this intriguing: Many of the titles of his images both are and are not “about” the central focus of the picture. For example, the one entitled Olana. If you know just where Olana is and that it’s on the height on the opposite side of the Rip van Winkle Bridge from Catskill, you’ll see it — but he seems to defy the convention of titling a picture after some obvious feature.
All the images in this show are in black and white, in plain black frames with white matting. And very modestly priced. In this day and age when one tires of looking at consciously trendy photography, I was extremely gratified to see how well received Mr. O’Grady’s work is. How did I know that? By the number of tiny green “Sold” stickers on so many of them.
The quickly snapped photo at the head of this post shows you something of the layout. It doesn’t do justice to Mr. O’Grady’s pictures at all, so you’ll just have to go and see for yourself. You’ll be glad you did. “Catskill Remains,” Kaaterskill Fine Arts center, Route 23a, Hunter. This is by far the finest exhibit they’ve had there in a long long time.