HAMPSHIRE GAZETTE, JUNE 2013 – “Exhibit At Northampton's Oxbow Gallery Features Works By Seven Landscape Artists” by Phoebe Mitchell
As its name suggests, "Seven on Site," the exhibit at the Oxbow Gallery in Northampton through June 30, shows the works of seven artists, all who painted outside within view of the scenes captured on canvas. The pieces encompass a wide range of territory, both in terms of the terrain they cover and their compositional attributes.
The exhibit features works depicting vistas in this country and Europe by artists from across the United States, including Hatfield artist Martha Armstrong, whose artwork has been in numerous shows at the Oxbow. Other artists whose paintings are on view are: Lynette Lombard, Sasha Chermayeff, Ro Lohin, Judy Koon, Jane Culp and Megan Williamson.
While all the pieces fall under the heading of figurative art, some are largely abstract, using landscape as a jumping-off point for the exploration of color, line and form. Others make more faithful representations of the scenes they depict. What ties them together is the immediacy that comes from their on-site creation. The pieces share the sensation of what it was like for the respective artists to be there, looking on that day, at that time, in that weather.
In her work, Williamson explores a landscape where nature and man intersect. In "Strange Brew," she juxtaposes buildings and railroad cars, the geometric shapes of the urban landscape, against the less-defined forms of the tree foliage in the foreground. Williamson paints the industrial structures in solid colors, with red, blue, beige and lime-green rectangles pieced together like a patchwork quilt. The effect is to flatten the space, pushing the man-made shapes uncomfortably close to the freer natural forms, forcing them into an uneasy partnership. She enhances that feeling by sandwiching the objects between a wedge of blue sky at the top of the canvas and the strip of water at the bottom.
Seven on Site features an informal association of landscape painters who live and paint across the country. The seven - Martha Armstrong (Hatfield, MA); Sasha Chermayeff (Hudson Valley); Jane Culp (California); Judy Koon (Chicago); Ro Lohin (Long Island); Lynette Lombard (Galesburg, IL); and Megan Williamson (Chicago) - joined forces to show together out of a shared commitment to painting on site. Their unconventional works emphasize expressive form and brushwork over changes in light effects, weather, and time of day, the more traditional concerns of plein air painting. These seven artists may paint some or most or all of a landscape outdoors, but none produces a direct transcription of nature. While grounded in reality, each interprets distinctively.