Soft Focus: Paintings and Photographs

James O'Shea, Chad Kleitsch, Betsy Weis, Jeri Eisenberg, Lynn Butler, Lori Van Houten, and paintings by Patty Neal and Bruce Murphy

May 30, 2013 through July 7, 2013

James O’Shea works from his studio near the Hudson River, where the colors and light of the watery landscape serve as continuing inspiration. In this new series of sophisticated, light-saturated abstract collages, the layered colors and shapes are almost architectural, yet organic. In the early 1970’s, O’Shea lived in London where he studied with Eric Morby at the City and Guilds of London Art School. He also attended Goldsmith’s College and the University of London, majoring in printmaking. Moving to New York in 1975, he studied life drawing and investigated color. Now, having experimented in most media, O’Shea is primarily interested in working with oils and encaustic paints. This will be O’Shea’s fifth exhibit with the gallery.

The second exhibit is titled “Soft Focus” in which artists explore the depiction of light as it transforms and blurs. Photographer Chad Kleitsch will present three very large prints of light shining towards the viewer. These “light show” photographs reference classic depictions of light throughout art history—think of Frederic Church’s luminous sunset paintings or a digitalized light show at a music concert. Kleitsch has shown his work with Haddad’s gallery for almost twenty years. Their relationship seems to work well and includes exhibitions of at least five different bodies of work. Kleitsch lives in Dutchess County with his wife and their two children. Jeri Eisenberg photographs the natural world with an over-sized pinhole camera or de-focused lens. By obscuring detail, the images become sketches of light—“trees seen through mostly-closed eyes on bright sunny days”. The very soft-focused, painterly images are printed digitally on delicate translucent Japanese Kozo paper and then coated in melted beeswax. Eisenberg likes to let her work hang free so she has developed a method of suspending the work with magnets from a Lucite bar mounted on the wall. The beautiful blossoms and branches in this exhibit come alive with the slightest breeze. Betsy Weis captures light moving on water and in the air (as fog) in these shimmering images printed on watercolor paper. She has developed a photographic process to convey the aesthetic and experiential perception of nature—the work describes natural settings that stimulate memories of earlier experiences. Weis chooses to work in black and white for a more ethereal quality and to serve as an extension of her large paintings which were also, primarily, black and white. Weis lives in Lower Manhattan with her painter husband and young daughter. Lori Van Houten makes large, multi-layered nature-based photographs on handmade paper. In her series titled “Stained Silk” and “Field Notes”, the images are scanned into a computer so she can begin a complex layering and interacting of images, erasing and adding to achieve the final piece. Van Houten’s BA is from Syracuse University and MFA from Southern Illinois University. She has had exhibited extensively throughout the US and Europe. Lynn Butler attempts to capture the sense of time passing in her rather unusually painterly photographs. She has travelled the countryside on horseback to photograph imperiled landscapes in order to construct a plea for conservation of the natural world. She photographs while in movement, so the work is always a bit blurred. The results are quite painterly, emotional and romantic. Although she will often heat or freeze the films before developing, all is done in the camera and the processing. Butler’s BA is from Hamilton College and her MAE from College of New Rochelle. She has exhibited extensively in the US and abroad and has placed work in many collections in France and the US. Landscape and urban painter Patty Neal explores the subtle blur and sharp clarity of the passing landscape as seen from a car window in her painterly attention to detail which captures that very specific movement of light and shadow. Neal has lived in New York and in California and has recently returned to Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley. She received her degrees from Parsons School of Design, New York Art Academy College, SF, and SF State University. Bruce Murphy paints soft focus abstract landscapes using automobile enamel paint and metallic powders on sheet metal. The final coat is a thick automobile varnish used by Rolls Royce. The paintings are hunky yet poetic, with moody rusty colors giving way to tender rose and blue notes. After graduating from Parsons with a bachelor’s degree in painting, Murphy worked as a freelance graphic designer for various publications such as House and Garden. Later, he moved to the Hudson Valley and opened the very popular restaurant, China Rose, in Rhinecliff.

Chad Kleitsch

Betsy Weis (Photography)

Bruce Murphy

James O'Shea

Jeri Eisenberg

Lori Van Houten

Lynn Butler

Patty Neal