Winter Nocturne

Paintings by Frank Faulkner, Don Bracken, Gary Buckendorf, photgraphy by Betsy Weis and Anne Arden McDonald, and sculpture by Joe Wheaton

January 8, 2020 through February 23, 2020

Carrie Haddad Gallery presents Winter Nocturne, an exhibit of contemporary painting, sculpture and photography that explore the subtleties and structures found in nature. Selections will include works by Frank Faulkner, Gary Buckendorf, Joe Wheaton, Don Bracken and photographs by Betsy Weis. This exhibit is on view January 8th through February 23rd. All are welcome to join us for the artists’ reception on Saturday, January 11th from 5-7pm.
The gallery’s front room will feature an impressive selection of minimalist Birch tree landscapes by the late Frank Faulkner. With a natural eye for design, Faulkner was well known for his abstract paintings of low-relief decorative patterns informed by his love of the applied arts, from Art Nouveau inlays to Samurai armor. The designs of raised acrylic were often coated in a layer of metallic paint, culminating into a “brilliant artifice” as critic Carter Ratcliff once described.
Born in 1946, Faulkner studied art at the University of North Carolina, earning his MFA in 1972. Upon graduating, he served as curator at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, during which time he was commissioned to paint a major work for the Equitable Life Assurance Society in Rockefeller Center. Just before his 30th birthday, the artist was selected for the Whitney Biennial which led him to move to New York City where his artistic career continued to flourish. His work was later exhibited in solo and group exhibits internationally and can now be found in the collections of the Hirschorn Museum in Washington, D.C., and the National Museum of American Art, among others.
After moving upstate in the early 90’s, he became interested in painting landscapes and natural subject matter observed throughout the Hudson Valley. The Birch tree was a subject he painted regularly. Their slim trunks were captured at eye level, as the recognizable black and white bark extended past the canvas’ frame. Faulkner experimented with vignette-like groupings of trees against Neo-classical style landscapes and later distilled the composition by juxtaposing the Birches with his metallic pattern backgrounds, sparking the conversation of nature vs. the man made.
Faulkner, who passed away in September of 2018, was also well known for his work as an interior designer. He had a passion for restoring old homes, many of which were in the town of Hudson and the surrounding area. His design work was featured in Architectural Digest and House & Garden magazines.
Joe Wheaton’s unique sculptural designs welded from dark, oxidized brass or brilliant silver steel showcase a contradictory set of relationships; “beautiful yet menacing, “threatening yet delicate” as described by the artist. Wheaton builds his metal compositions using a language of strokes and patterns. Geometric spears, disks and quadrangles alternate with wispy, sharp edged lines that trail off quietly to an undefined point. This visual sweep can be likened to the art of calligraphy, echoing the artist’s interest in early Asian arts and ceramics, as well as printmaking. This exhibit will include several of Wheaton’s large and small wall sculptures, as well as standing pieces. Joe Wheaton, whose studio is in Beckett, MA, has worked as a sculptor for 30 years. Most recently, he has been making sculpture and projection experiences showcased nationally, as well as creating two dimensional images taken from the projections.
Gary Buckendorf returns for his second exhibit at the gallery with a continuation of the “Olivebridge Drawings”. Named after the location of his studio in the Catskills, these expressionistic depictions are imbued with a sense of tension found between spontaneity and practiced repetition. An elegant handling of charcoal merged with the artist’s freedom of motion culminate into hauntingly beautiful abstractions that Buckendorf describes as “following a lead of accidents.” He further explains “…with repetition, over the years, an internal process has emerged. It continues to evolve and now I feel engaged in something that is, in some way, part of nature”. The drawings will be accompanied by three large oil paintings that follow a similar aesthetic practice while introducing subtle color into his largely monochrome repertoire.
Donald Bracken combines his love of the land with his mastery of painting and willingness to surrender to the creative process. Originally from San Francisco, Bracken came to the east coast where he was an artist in residence at the World Trade Center in New York City. Today he resides in the Housatonic River Valley in Connecticut; his house and studio sit above a bubbling brook framed by a one lane covered creek in close distance. The artist departed from traditional landscape painting 10 years ago as he began to take his cue from natural materials that started to strongly influence his work – dirt, clay, vines and leaves among them. His interest in formalizing these natural materials by mixing them with acrylics has imparted a sculptural aspect to his painting. “The use of these materials has yielded a process of discovery that has led me to synthesize natural motifs in different ways; to express the parallel realities of man and nature, which often exist without human awareness.” This exhibit will feature a combination of landscape portraits painted with ash and pigmented dirt, as well as highly textured white-on-white canvases imbedded with twisting vines and crackling clay. Donald Bracken showcases the raw and earthy textures of the landscape in an elegant manner that transcends the depiction of the place itself.
Betsy Weis captures the ineffable qualities of nature in her monochromatic photographs of land, sky, snow and water. She brings to her camera’s lens a masterful understanding of abstract composition, which she uses to illustrate nature’s unpredictability and relentless chaotic activity. This exhibit will feature a series of four photographs of delicate, white waterlilies contrasted against a blackened abyss of water colliding with shadow. “Water is an expansive space for me. It always looks like it goes on further than you can see. But it’s also claustrophobic, in the sense you can’t breathe underwater” Weis explains. The blackness of the pond’s surface extends beyond the perimeters of the paper, while the lightness of the petals creep in to invade this darkness. While the image is serene and peaceful, it is what remains unseen that suggests a certain vulnerability of what lies beneath the surface or lurks beyond view. Betsy Weis received her BFA from California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, and a MA in painting from New York University. Most recently, she completed a residency in Finland and was featured at the Berliner Liste in 2017, one of the oldest modern art fairs in Berlin, Germany.

Anne Arden McDonald

Betsy Weis (Photography)

Donald Bracken

Frank Faulkner

Gary Buckendorf

Joe Wheaton