Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Craig Mooney and Helen Shulman at West Branch Gallery

STOWE -- Spring comes early to the West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park, where Human Landscapes, a two-person exhibition of paintings by Craig Mooney and Helen Shulman, opens March 7. Mooney’s intimate yet gestural figurative works bring a renewing freshness to this exhibition, which also features sun-drenched cityscapes and visions of the Vermont springtime. The texture and palette of Shulman’s earth-toned, studied compositions are warm and sensitive. Taken together, their works have a sensual ease inviting to viewers eager for brighter days.

The pairing of these two artists draws out timely themes in both. Observers of Craig Mooney’s paintings will recognize the same blend of painterly strokes and dramatic light that characterize his landscapes in these figurative works. His figures exist in the liminal space between peaceful solitude and pathos. Helen Shulman’s innovative wax and oil painting technique layers their textures into tactile colorscapes that refer to the landscape while remaining abstract. Shulman’s paintings seem to increase the gravity of Mooney’s figurative works, with Mooney’s moody palette brightening the tangerine warmth of Shulman’s paintings.

The works in this show seem to glow with a quiet self-reliance soothing in these turbulent times. With their subtle gradations of color and texture, they suggest the quiet persistence of art through good times and bad. The work is on view March 7 through April 26.