The Woodstock School of Art
& The Historical Society of Woodstock
Works from the collection of The Historical Society of Woodstock
Exhibit runs from September 13 to November 1, 2014
Woodstock School of Art, Route 212 Woodstock, N.Y
Selected by Susana Torruella Leval
"They say that the coming of the artists will change Woodstock." Thus did young Will Rose express the villagers' worry in "The Vanishing Village," his charming memoir of Woodstock circa 1900. Old codgers gather daily around the wide-bellied stove in his father's general store. Their conversation invariably turns to "the rumor that the artists are coming." They were right to worry. The artists did change Woodstock.
So writes curator Susana Torruella Leval in her essay, "What the Artists Saw," from the catalog of Seldom Seen: Works from the collection of the Historical Society of Woodstock, which will be on display in the Robert H. Angeloch Gallery at the Woodstock School of Art beginning September 13. Torruella Leval envisioned the exhibit as telling the story of Woodstock as seen from the artists' perspective. She writes that she was "struck by the intensity and beauty of the works (she) selected for this exhibition. Artists traversed Woodstock's surrounding landscape in all seasons, lovingly recording the gentle Catskills, lush meadows, winding streams, twisting roads named after neighbors, barns and farms now gone. They documented their beloved village with now-quaint views of the Dutch Reformed Church, the post office, the Trading Post, Henry Peper's forge, the firehouse, the restaurant on the green, and the still-vital library fair. Their fun-loving side created a delightful bestiary-real pets, whimsical creatures, strange birds, and carefully observed farm beasts. Finally, the artists looked closely at themselves. Intense self-portraits reveal them more keenly than any other genre."
Seldom Seen features 63 paintings in the categories of landscape, bestiary and self-portrait. The time period of the work spans from the early to late 20th century and includes artists long associated with America's first artist colony who are known nationally as well as lesser known local artists who called Woodstock home. Work includes drawing, painting and printmaking by artists such as Charles Rosen, Otto Bierhals, Clarence Bolton, John F. Carlson, Marion Bullard, Richard Segalman, Eva van Rijn, Tor Gudmundsen, Eduardo Chavez, Ernest Fiene and many more. Each piece chosen reflects the time period of its creation and the embodiment of that intangible quality, the Woodstock "spirit."
Woodstock Town Historian Richard Heppner writes, "Woodstock is a small town and yet our history is writ large with the contributions of those who would see life through a slightly different lens. It is also a history that has seen those views shaped by connections formed between newly arrived artists and those who drew life and livelihoods from the very landscape that would find its way onto a multitude of canvases over the years. As a result, it is a history that has transcended great change while remaining grounded in its original purpose; a history in which we understand that we are not separate from our past but are an integral part of a combining experience that becomes our community."
You are cordially invited to join us in the Angeloch Gallery at the Woodstock School of Art for the opening reception of SELDOM SEEN Saturday, September 13, from 3 to 5 p.m.