Abstract landscapes at Strand Main Gallery

ROBIN CAUDELL/STAFF Photo Strand Center for the Arts gallery/museum director David Monette relocates "Breakthrough" in "Land, Water and Sky," an exhibition featuring acrylic paintings by Bill Crosby in the Main Gallery in Plattsburgh. Opening reception is Friday.

PLATTSBURGH — “Land, Water & Sky” showcases recent work by visual artist Bill Crosby at the Strand Center for the Art's Main Gallery.

Opening reception is from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday at 23 Brinkerhoff St. in Plattsburgh.

Crosby is a retired SUNY Plattsburgh art professor who taught photography and painting from 1963-1998.


“This is mostly recent work,” he said.

“A lot of it in the last three or four years. Some of it is very new. There is not much that's really early at all. No.”

The 45 paintings include a variety of large paintings, medium-sized paintings and a series of small, framed matted works.

“Those are sketchy and more modest in price,” Crosby said.

“They are quick studies, little sketches. Some of them are very small actually.”

There is another series, conventional acrylic paintings on canvas, that are framed.

“I think David (Monette, gallery director) and I decided he was going to put them in the windows because they can sit right on those window sills that they have there,” Crosby said.

“It may not be the best way to use those window sills. You either use them or don't use them, but I think these will look pretty good in the windows. Some of them are small triptychs. Three of them are 5 x 5, and another set 8 x 10, little verticals.”


His recent exhibitions include a group show with Ruth Hamill and Nancy Simonds, which ended last month at the Portland Art Gallery, Portland, Maine.

Through Sept. 14, see his works at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts in "Knife to Canvas: paintings by two pallet painters and one brush painter: Zach Lobdell, Cynthia Rosen, and William Crosby."

Crosby is inspired by the natural landscape and being out in it.

“But coming back and working out of my head and in the studio,” he said.

“They are kind of a convergence or a collage of several ideas in different locations. Most of them are not specific locations. They can be interpreted, and they are open to interpretation to be a lot of different places. But a lot of it is the Adirondacks.”

Crosby and his wife, Pat, spend a lot of time on coastal Maine when they are not in the North Country, where they have lived for more than 40 years.

This day, he had just emerged from a kayak.

“I was watching eagles fly by,” Crosby said.

“It's exciting and herons. We're kind of almost in the wilderness, but there are other places nearby. It's pretty wild here, too. It's a tidewater river.”


The Adirondacks are a primary influence as well as other locales such as Lake Champlain.

“I have water in almost every painting,” he said.

“As the title of the show suggests, land, water and sky. The paintings I feel are somewhat emotional. I start a painting with a few strokes or a few pencil lines and go from there. What happens there tells me what happens next.”

His acrylics are almost meditative with disruptions of vivid color.

“Most will have a horizon line, sometimes broken, but you will get a sense of a landscape, either a more distant landscape or more of a close-up.”

Forms suggest landscape.

Land, water, sky have a myriad of iterations.

“A lot of the open space in a painting, especially the foreground, is more incomplete,” Crosby said.

“You get a more completed area in the central part, and then some big open sky, clouds, blue skies, not sunsets though. Every once in a while I will do a sunset.”


He loves cloud formations.

“They are paintings,” Crosby said.

“They are not renderings. They are not illustrations.”

His paintings have drips, thin places of paint, and very opaque places of paint. “There's back and forth movement there between something that is pretty definite and then something that becomes more vague and open very much to interpretations,” he said.

Could be rocks.

Could be trees.

Could be water.

“Again, I invite the viewer to let the painting grow on them,” Crosby said.

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WHAT: "Land, Water & Sky" featuring paintings by Bill Crosby.

WHEN: Opening reception is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday. The show runs through Sept. 27.

WHERE: Main Gallery, Strand Center for the Arts, 23 Brinkerhoff St., Plattsburgh.

HOURS: Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

PHONE: 518-563-1604.

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