Telluride Gallery: “A Perfect Rhythm” & Back Room!

Telluride Gallery: “A Perfect Rhythm” & Back Room!

Now into April, theTelluride Gallery of Fine Art  is featuring the work of Dan McCleary, Christine Nguyen, Lucas Reiner, and Andy Woll.

For other shows up in March and opening with Art Walk, go here to Telluride Arts website.

Image, Dan McCleary, a tribute to Manet’s late-life portraits of flora.

In his “The Mirror of Art,” art critic, writer (and close friend of Manet). Charles Baudelaire, wrote about “the universal rhythm inherent in all things…”

A perfect rhythm.

Coincidently the name of the latest group show at the Telluride Gallery, up now through April.

“A Perfect Rhythm,” features the work of artists Dan McCleary, Christine Nguyen, Lucas Reiner, and Andy Woll. Their brand of sorcery underlines the fact that what we call reality is really an interconnected matrix: the love in our hearts is reflected in the tenderness in a rose; our isolation, in the poignancy of a solitary tree. As botanist Robert Fludd once explained: “Every plant in the world had its own equivalent star in the firmament…”

In other words, “A Perfect Rhythm” is about the relationship between humans and all other aspects of creation; and the relationship between ourselves and the invisible forces that govern our internal and external worlds.

In the Age of Corona the show offers a chance to stop and smell (the painted) roses.

Described by LA Times critic Christopher Knight as “among the finest figurative painters working today,” Dan McCleary is a painter-poet of everyday life, largely renowned for psychologically charged portraits of subjects engaged in what appears to be deep contemplation in quotidian settings doing everyday activities.

With his focus on urban living, by elevating the mundane, even society’s down-and-out, on a scale once upon a time ago reserved for royal portraiture, mythological figures and nowadays celebrities, McCleary stands on the shoulders of art world giants such as Vermeer and Manet.

Truth be told, McCleary has more common with Manet than might initially meet the eye. More than his monumental tributes to the sacred in the commonplace.

Towards the end of his too short life – he died at age 51 – as his health deteriorated, painting of flowers and fruit increasingly occupied Manet’s time. The paralysis of his left leg confined the great artist to his apartment and studio; he no longer could visited friends or frequent cafes. Instead, café life came to him, as familiars flocked to his studio to gossip and watch the maestro in action. Manet’s visitors came bearing flowers, which he adored – and painted.

And these final still-lifes are among the most beautiful pictures in the great artist’s oeuvre.

Ditto for the oeuvre of McCleary.

Pre- Covid, McCleary’s studio rocked. He once described his workplace as follows:

“I will have the model come and pose for drawings and sometimes a photograph. The models return many times and pose in sets I build in the studio… It can take up to nine months to finish a painting. I usually work on four or five painting simultaneously. I work two to three hours a day with the model and continue to work on the paintings alone.There are usually two or three models posing throughout the week.”

That was then.

And now?

In relative solitude this past year, McCleary shifted his focus from models to set-ups of fruit and flowers, which he paints from life – a nod to corona for sure, but also a tribute to Manet, whom McCleary has long admired. These still-lifes are of extraordinary, delicate beauty and a tribute to the artist’s undiminished prowess.

In the case of McLeary – and Manet – in truth for all the artists in “A Perfect Rhythm”– recording likenesses was never the goal. Identifying with their subjects, capturing their essence, was (and is).

In her own words, the rapturous work of Christine Nguyen:

Sunflower Constellations

“…draws upon the imagery of nature, the sciences, and the cosmos, but it is not limited to a conventional reading of these realms. It imagines that the depths of the ocean reach into outer space; that through an organic prism, vision can fluctuate between the micro- and macroscopic. My practice is devoted to the natural world and its curiosities. It has been my inspiration and a place that I find meditative and complex but also mysterious. It has allowed me to continuously know more about the world we live in.”

Stars and Constellations

Nguyen’s cyanotypes combine original photography, items from nature, and a salt-crystalizing process that gives each piece a shimmering crust – and also delivers unexpected, otherworldy results, while reinforcing the notion of connectivity.

Over a career spanning three decades, Lucas Reiner has produced several notable series of chromatically variegated paintings. These images reflects the artist’s perennial inspirations – trees in contemporary urban settings being one of those leitmotifs.

Five Views On La Cienega Blvd

Reiner often finds subjects driving through his native Los Angeles. In the studio, he is known to single out, for example, a lone tree, painting its details in oils mixed with wax. The backdrop to these images is the smoggy California atmosphere, a layered mist captured as ethereally as the artist’s paintings of smoke dissipating after an exploding firework. Those “curtains” reinforce the truth of our (and the tree’s) struggle to survive aloneness – until the light of the sun, the truth, melts it away and we reconnect – not to drive the point into the ground – in a perfect harmony.

Inglewood Nutwood Ave July

While Reiner’s work is formally rigorous – the artist paints, erases, and paints again, building up texture and contrast, while simultaneously scraping paint down to the canvas – the final product feels ethereal.

Reiner clearly identifies with the tree. And the tree with Reiner?

Andy Woll’s canvases are driven by a repeated exploration of form, as well as an obsession with the physical properties of his medium, paint.

Mt. Wilson Noir I

Repeatedly returning to the same subject, like Monet and his haystacks and Notre Dame, etc., gives Woll the space for unlimited improvisation and, therefore, new discoveries under changing conditions of light, seasons, and emotions.

Mt. Wilson TenebreII

Over the past five years, Woll has returned to Mt. Wilson as a muse, a peak that sits just East of Los Angeles in the San Gabriels. As a native of Los Angeles, the artist has an intimate knowledge of the mountain’s physicality from traversing its many trails and streams. As a painter, Woll has found continual inspiration in the way the mountain’s surface reflects the light of the City of Angels Basin, an ever-changing spectrum that shifts hour to hour, day to day, giving rise to an infinite variety of palettes to explore.

And in the back room of the Telluride Gallery:

On view in the newly added back room of the gallery is “ New Prints from Art Division,” February 9 – March 13, 2021.

Dan McLeary, Left Coast art world titan and founder, Art Division.

Art Division is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing young artists with accessible, affordable arts training and academic support. Founded by Dan McCleary in 2010, Art Division is committed to building and maintaining a thriving arts community in the predominantly Latino neighborhood around historic MacArthur Park in Los Angeles.

Then, from March 16 – April 16, 2021, the back room of the gallery will feature new works by artists local to the Telluride region.


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