KEENE VALLEY — Gallerist Martha Corscaden was asked for a long time to show “Vry’s big ones,” the large-scale art of her sister/artist Vryling C. Roussin.
“Vry’s Big Ones” opens today at Corscaden Arts & Barn Gallery in Keene Valley.
The exhibition runs through Labor Day and features the work of Roussin (1944-2004) and gallery artists Stephanie De Manuelle, Michael Gaudreau, Garrett Jewett and Bear Miller.
Guest artists are Monica Bradbury, John Hudson and Cinda Longstreth.
HONORING HER SISTER
“It’s quite a task,” Corscaden said. “Then, I got really inspired, and I said I would do that. This is my main show, and I will honor my sister.
“I have a range of selected large paintings. They are landscapes, except one is a figure. There’s a phase she went through, more natural, impressionist landscapes in the ‘70s.”
The next main grouping of Roussin’s paintings date from 1997 to 2000.
“So, it’s quite a contrast,” Corscaden said. “The latter pieces are much more contemporary, and they show quite a range of growth. It’s really kind of at the height of her painting near the end of her life.”
Stephanie De Manuelle doesn’t work as large as Roussin, but she’s working larger than usual.
“I can’t seem to manage it; the largest piece I have is 36 by 40 inches,” said De Manuelle, who teaches art and chairs the Fine Arts Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
“Martha recognized a bit of a different approach for me. I’m really thrilled to be able to show them.”
Three works are oil on canvas. The fourth is oil and charcoal on panel.
“It’s a little bit different result,” De Manuelle said. “It’s hard. As usual, they look like they can be landscape derived. They are all from the same piece of driftwood, sort of variations on a theme. It came from Keene Valley.
“I usually carry some specimens and bring them back with me. Those are my props. I do a lot of texture in my work and lots of viscosity with the paint. That is still there.”
She was inspired by the “de Kooning: A Retrospective” 2011-12 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
“He had some paintings. Some were gouache and oil, but he drew in them with charcoal. And, I loved the contrasts. The postcards (from the show) sat there for a couple of years. I realized I could put down some vague markings on the canvas and go back in with charcoal and go on a bit.”
De Manuelle puts patches of paint down.
“I’m referencing what I’m looking at,” she said. “I can go back in with charcoal. I could make it almost gel a little bit. What I did with these pieces was going back and forth with charcoal and oil paint and leaving some bits uncovered so everything isn’t thick.
“I’m still working that way, and I’m really getting a lot out of it.”
During a chapter of their lives, Michael Gaudreau and Roussin both lived in Baltimore. They never knew each other or met. A native Baltimorean, he and Roussin both attended Maryland Institute College of Art. He was four years behind her.
“We crossed paths through her work,” said Gaudreau, a landscape painter/ceramicist who teaches at the John Carroll School in Bel Air, Md.
“Many years ago, when we first came up here, I went to the Corscaden Gallery and saw her work and met her sister (Martha Corscaden). The work is amazing.
“So, we knew all the same teachers and some of the same people. I could see the influence of some of the instructors of MICA.”
When Gaudreau first saw Roussin’s painting of Lower Ausable Lake, he thought he was peering through a kaleidoscope.
“It was absolutely beautiful patterns in the sky, and I knew it was the lake. So many landscape artists paint what they see in a realistic manner, and she painted what she saw but at the same time expressed what she felt. It was a very personal, emotional, reaction to the landscape. You knew what you were looking at, but you were seeing it through her eyes.”
Transformed by her work, Gaudreau felt he had permission to go further and not be a realist painter of the Adirondacks landscape.
“There is a great freedom in her work, a wonderful sense of color. You can tell they’re Vry’s. She painted with her heart.”
Since the first of August, Gaudreau and his trusty Irish setter, Maggie, have trekked within the Blue Line from their base at Trail’s End Inn in Keene Valley.
He equates painting en plein aire to fly fishing. Both are accomplished in breathtaking vistas and require specific equipment. In the process, sometimes you get a keeper. Sometimes, you don’t and throw it back.
In “Vry’s Big Ones,” his works includes a number of landscapes. Subject matter includes the Bouquet River, Chapel Pond and streams rock, water and birch trees. He is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America.
“I really love painting Johns Brooks, the Bouquet and Ausable. I hike up with my easel on my backpack. I find a place and set up and paint what I truly love to paint.
“The experience of being in the deep woods up here, the light is just wonderful.”
Over the past 20 years, he knows where to set up to capture dawn light cresting over Giant Mountain.
“Chapel Pond is my favorite place,” Gaudreau said. “It’s my spiritual home.”
Email Robin Caudell:firstname.lastname@example.orgIF YOU GO WHAT: "Vry's Big Ones" featuring the works of Vry Roussin, Stephanie De Manuelle, Michael Gaudreau, Garrett Jewett, Bear Miller, Monica Bradbury, John Hudson and Cinda Longstreth. WHEN: Opening reception 5 to 7 p.m. today. WHERE: Corscaden Barn Gallery, 58 Beers Bridge Way (1.5 miles south of Keene Valley on Route 73). GALLERY HOURS: Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weekdays by appointment. PHONE: 576-9850. E-MAIL: email@example.com