Sunday, September 26, 2010

Landscape in America: Howard Rose

Reproducing the landscape on canvas, whether an abandoned beach or a busy city street, a sun-bleached roof or a snow-caked tree, has been the obsessed province of painters since forever.

The great outdoors in America became a high art with the works of the Hudson Valley River painters fueled perhaps by the writings of Henry David Thoreau. In France, Cezanne and Monet, went outdoors and their un-peopled designs of nature crushed in pigment magnified through the prism of the eye changed both the way we see the world and structure of painting itself. In the process of describing the world in paint, the medium itself became a subject: A swath of sunlight rendered in a longish patch of cadmium yellow modified with titanium white.  You could almost eat it. Thick and lustrous, paint depicted the natural world, and the painting itself then became an object for the man-made one.

Howard Rose does just that in his massive catalog of landscape works. Producing larger format and miniature canvases, the Long Island-based artist (and teacher), has mapped out the glowing corners of the soft and worn world around him.

In the last 100 years most every artist beginning at a very young age has painted the tree they first climbed, the house they grew up in, or the horizon that met them as they pondered the damn meaning of it all. The real world – the familiar – is the basis for art: Broken down barns, their colors wilting in the summer sun or brooks eking out a dribble of water under a blanket of snow, or waves transparent and curling, cresting on an empty beach. The impulse to immortalize a flowering meadow, a patch in the woods, a range of mountains, shadows on a footpath is innately human, it's about mixing memory with desire, creating elaborate traces of what we've seen, and what we see.     

Howard Rose is a hunter-gatherer of these five-senses moments. Using photography as a framing device, or sometimes working directly in nature, the artist restates the world in compelling compositions that are solid but dreamy, sensual and sure. 

It's fair to say that Howard Rose is thrilled by light. And he's mastered the various techniques to give light palpable reality on canvas without tilting over into the photo-realist canon. His transparent foam cresting waves breaking on an Atlantic shore are perfect haikus of action: A poetic fusion of Nature's various verbs. Dune grasses, sun dappled paths, clapboard houses wrapped in the blueish haze of afternoon snow are all fascinations for this artist, and each foray into these subjects yields compositions are both examine the texture of the world and ultimately the mind that seizes it.

A graduate of The School of Visual Arts, in New York City, and post-graduate studies at C.W. Post college, Howard Rose also studied  at the New School of Social Research for Photography.

Howard Rose runs a painting workshop and has written extensively on teaching and technique for publications such as Artist's Magazine and American Artist Magazine, and he leads oil painting workshops throughout the Northeast, including The Hudson Valley Workshops, The Art Barge in East Hampton, and Southampton Oil Painting Workshop as well as The Huntington Art League and C.W. Post College.

Photo: Howard Rose and excited guest at his recent one-man show at Chrysalis Gallery in Southampton, New York.

Visit one of his galleries: Les Bons Amis Locust Valley, NY. Or click here to see more of Howard Rose's work.  His work shop is here.

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