Monday, February 9, 2009

REVIEW: Pastel Explorations at Gallery North Star

Grafton, VT
February 7- March 8, 2009
by Mick Petrie

The show “Pastel Explorations” is unified by the medium the four artists share, and demonstrates the range of approaches seen in recent years with pastel painting’s resurgence as finished fine art. These four artists give a quick tour of the past and future of pastel painting.

Richard Gombar’s pastels (left) look very much like his work in oil. He has long painted barns reduced to simple shapes with strong colors, and brings the same sensibility to his landscapes.

Robert Collier (right) is the most traditional artist in the group both in technique and subject matter painting soft pastoral scenes with light strokes of pastel. His work is dreamlike, evoking a mostly vanishing landsape.

Lucy Petrie PSA (right) brings a stark, modern approach to the still life with single objects in spacious settings. Her work is highly realistic with strong contrasts of light and dark with her subjects rising from nearly black backgrounds, or casting long shadows.

Robert Carsten PSA (below) is well known for his luminous, sometimes whimsical paintings of fruit, but here presents sharply rendered landscapes showing the level of detail and complexity possible in the medium. In addition he has a series of intensely colored abstracts loosely based on close-up photos of freight trains.

There is a full-color show catalog available from the gallery.