Some of us appreciate nothing more than the visual imagery provided by trees, this writer included. I can, and often do, stare into the forest for hours, accomplishing nothing more than the nurturance of my spirit or soul, or whatever you want to call it. American painter and printmaker Katherine Bowling accomplishes more. She translates her perceptions of the natural environment onto canvas or paper or spackled wood in colors both vibrant and muted, as if squinting to capture an overall impression of nature, rather than the crisp details.
Inspired by the woodlands of upstate New York, she creates paintings that command the viewer to look into the landscape, not at it. The moody skies, the earth covered in a tangle of trees or snow or a distant body of water, the silhouetted V of geese flying south, an old garage, an empty road, a fence, and always the branches and trunks and leaves of trees — all come together to form the commonality of country views and brought into a soft focus that suggest simply, “Look at this.”
Showing works since the early 1980s, Bowling has been compared to the 19th century painter, Albert Pinkham Ryder. And it’s been written that in the tradition of the Hudson River School, her expressive technique, quiet symbolism and masterful spatial illusions take the idea of landscape painting into the 21st century. The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, Bowling has works exhibited in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum and the Fisher Landau Center in New York City, the Orlando Museum of Contemporary Art and the Norton Museum of Art in Florida, as well as the Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art in Evanston, Illinois, and St. John’s University in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Now exhibiting at Cross Contemporary Art Gallery in Saugerties, Bowling offers “The Presence of Leaves,” a group of paintings that quietly invites the viewer to become intimate with trees. An opening Artist’s Reception will be held on Saturday, August 29, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Directed by Jen Dragon, Cross Contemporary Art Gallery is dedicated to showing mid-career and established artists who have a connection to New York City, the Hudson Valley and the Catskills region. Open Thursdays through Mondays from noon to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays by appointment or chance. “The Presence of Leaves” will be exhibited until September 27. More information about the artist can be found at https://katherinebowling.com/
Katherine Bowling: “The Presence of Leaves” Solo Exhibition, opening reception Saturday, August 29, 4 to 7 p.m., no charge, Cross Contemporary Art, 81 Partition Street, Saugerties; 845 399-9751, https://www.crosscontemporaryart.com.