Elevating the ordinary

Summer in Ulster County by Bruce Bundock.

Bruce Bundock – whose new exhibit at Locust Grove, the Samuel Morse Historic Site in Poughkeepsie, gets celebrated with a reception on Thursday, September 27 – has found a pitch-perfect way to match his painting style to both his view of the region’s glories and changes and the ways in which he has trained his eye to see what he thinks (and vice versa). “In and Out of Town: Land and Cityscapes,” which will be up through November 4, uses traditional landscape tools that focus on the play of light on land, compositions emphasizing sky and earth, to draw out deeper resonances in such subject matter as the recent renovation of the Kirkland Hotel in Kingston, changes at the Rhinecliff Hotel, the deterioration of the former Calannan’s industrial site on the Rondout and still-yet-moving depictions of trailers in woods and ships moving languidly up the subtly industrialized Hudson River.

“That I happen to be live and work in a region that gave birth to America’s first landscape tradition is never far from my awareness,” writes the Kingston-based artist, whose years of training are evident in his latest works concentrated on landscape changes. “With the passage of time, the Hudson Valley has become a blend of rural and urban elements. ‘ In and Out of Town’ is essentially about places that have caught my eye for reasons both aesthetic and documentary. My painting is a form of investigative reporting on light, form and content. I seek to elevate the ordinary by uncovering conditions that largely remain on the periphery of one’s attention.”

Seeing these works at Locust Grove – home of the great American painter and early photographer now best-known for his inventions of the game-changing telegraph and Morse Code – puts them in a continuum that’s more in keeping with the tradition of naturalist works documenting American life in all its complexity, rather than the idealistic “sublimity” of more Romantic Hudson River School work.


“In and Out of Town: Land and Cityscape,” new paintings by Bruce Bundock, runs through November 4 at Locust Grove, the Samuel Morse Historic Site, located at 2683 South Road (Route 9) in Poughkeepsie. The gallery space is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. An opening reception takes place on Thursday, September 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For further information, call (845) 454-4500 or visit www.lgny.org.