Margaretville — “Diamonds and Rust” by Gerda van Leeuwen and Robin Halpern’s “Elements,” two solo shows, open this week at Margaretville’s Longyear Gallery. The shows, displayed in separate spaces of the gallery, are accompanied by a group show of all Longyear Gallery member artists in a third area. The exhibitions will run from Friday, July 13 through Monday, August 6, with an Artists’ Reception held at Longyear Gallery on Saturday, July 14 from 3-6 p.m.
In her new show, “Diamonds and Rust,” Gerda van Leeuwen’s art suggests both the inner and outer landscapes of the seasons as well as their effects on us. Using different types of Japanese paper, the artist evokes both forest and stream, a chartreuse green world seen through a window, undergrowth and roots, dark reflections in water, a star-studded summer night, the decay and rust of fall. According to van Leeuwen, “My prints/paintings are deeply influenced by the old master prints I was exposed to when growing up with in The Netherlands, especially Rembrandt’s etchings of landscapes, whose nuances and play of light and dark were an inspiration.” Although these new print/paintings are not at all representational, they ask viewers to see the worlds within them that sometimes shimmer even as rust and darkness encroach.
Born in The Netherlands, Gerda van Leeuwen received her Arts Education in Painting and Printmaking at Academy Artibus in Utrecht, The Netherlands, where she studied traditional etching and litho techniques and painting. After receiving a work/travel grant from The Arts Organization Kunstliefde to study the work of artist/printmaker Piranesi in Italy and then a grant from the Dutch Cultural Counsel, she was able to buy an etching press and set up a fully equipped printing facility where she collaborated with other artists in making print portfolios and art books. After moving to New York in 1985, van Leeuwen set up a printing studio, Hudson Street Press, with master printer Peter Yamaoka in Tribeca. From 1985-2001, she participated in various exhibitions showing prints published by Hudson Street Press, and since 2006, when she moved her studio and printing facilities to Roxbury, NY, she has worked and taught art and printmaking to local and visiting students of all ages. Work by Gerda van Leeuwen is on permanent display at the Longyear Gallery, Margaretville, NY, and is in various collections in the USA, Mexico, The Netherlands, China, and Japan.
In “Elements,” Longyear Gallery artist Robin Halpern’s art once again asks viewers to “suspend judgment and tolerate uncertainty.” Halpern states that “through the use of color, line, shape, texture and movement, the viewer may experience a sense of energy and escape from a required interpretation. Instinctively, this will generate the essence of what may be experienced at the moment the mind’s-eye responds.” As both an artist and a psychotherapist, Halpern sees a correlation between the way we ponder “the possible emotion and meaning that the paintings may evoke and psychological exploration that may lead to discovery of one’s unconscious.” The link between her two passions is derived from her particular lens depicting the interior world of emotion and mood.
Robin Halpern earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting from the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, where she studied under noted figurative painter Jerome Witkin and George McNeil, the founder of The American Abstract Artists. After becoming drawn to the interior world of the human psyche, Halpern began working as a psychotherapist for many years while also resuming life as a painter. A member of Longyear Gallery in Margaretville, NY, she has appeared in group and solo exhibitions throughout the New York area. Her work hangs in private collections throughout the country. She resides and paints in both NYC and the Catskills.
Longyear Gallery is located Downstairs in The Commons, 785 Main Street, Margaretville. Gallery hours are Fridays, Sundays, and Mondays 11-4 p.m., and Saturdays 10-5 p.m., and by appointment. For information, see Longyear’s website, www.longyeargallery.org, or call 845.586.3270 during gallery hours.