WSA opens retrospective of works by founder Robert Angeloch

Robert Angeloch’s Stream at Shady, oil on canvas, 30 x 40

This summer, the Woodstock School of Art (WSA) will pay tribute to one of its own: co-founder Robert Angeloch, who passed away last March. An exhibit of some 40 of his paintings will open with a reception on Saturday, July 7 from 3 to 5 p.m., when the gallery showing his works will be officially named in his honor as the Robert H. Angeloch Gallery. The exhibit, curated by his son Eric Angeloch, an artist and instructor at WSA, will remain on view through Saturday, September 1.

“It’ll be an exciting exhibition,” says Kate McGloughlin, Angeloch’s longtime friend and colleague, who took over as instructor of the printmaking classes at WSA when Angeloch retired from teaching in 2002, and is currently the School’s president as well. “There’ll be works that he did in the classroom, and also small field studies, as well as large finished studio paintings.”

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Primarily consisting of landscapes depicting locales ranging from Maine’s Monhegan Island to pastoral scenes of Ireland and the Catskills, the exhibit will include some figurative and still-life paintings as well. Yellow Cloth, an 18-by-24-inch oil-on-panel of golden drapery spilling over a table, was done as a classroom demonstration exercise, but is fully realized on its own as a striking execution of form and design.

As an artist and instructor, Angeloch was a mentor to many: “a guiding North Star to those of us under his tutelage,” says McGloughlin. Taking classes with him, she says, was “really collegial, and a great learning experience, where you learn from a master and then are expected to pass on what you know.”

As a co-founder of the School, he was a force to be reckoned with. “There were two sides to Bob Angeloch,” says McGloughlin. “One was the artist and visionary, and the other was the astute administrator and planner.”

Part of Angeloch’s vision for WSA was that classes be taught there in the atelier tradition, where instructors are all working artists themselves and are free to implement their own teaching methods in their own way to students who are admitted with no previous experience or entrance requirements. The atelier tradition is based on the 19th-century French system of teaching art, and allows students to cultivate technical skills and to nurture their artistic growth in an atmosphere of artistic commitment. “The members of the Board are committed to carrying out Bob’s method of running things,” says McGloughlin. “Everybody who is on our staff is a working artist, and people who come to study here learn the whole heart of what it is to be an artist, and not just how to put something on a canvas.”

Another aspect of WSA set in motion by Angeloch is its dedication to preserving its historic native bluestone and timber buildings set on 38 acres of woodlands. Originally dating to the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the buildings were commissioned in 1939 for the purpose of teaching craftsmanship to rural youth under the auspices of the National Youth Administration. “This place has always been about craftspeople learning a trade,” says McGloughlin.

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