Fletcher show features Hongnian Zhang

Hongnian Zhang and paintings. (Photo by Dion Ogust)

What makes for a great holiday art show?

First, check off the importance of a boisterous opening reception filled with not only participating artists, but appreciative collectors and a cross section of long-term locals who can not only appreciate the new pieces on view, but recall the treasures brought up for sale by Woodstock legends about whom they’ve got plenty of raucous stories. As happened at Fletcher Gallery on Mill Hill Road last weekend.

Second, make sure the mix of assorted works on view add up to an eclectic spread whose end result mirrors the warm glow of a holiday tree. Mix some Rolph Scarlett non-objective works with some classic Woodstock Modernist pieces from the early and mid-20th centuries. Have a few primitive pieces, some contemporary photography and the sorts of sculpture one can fit into a local home, and then hang it all salon-style, so the room whispers “rural elegance,” while those in attendance marveled at the collection’s ample largesse. As is happening at Fletcher Gallery now through January 13.

Lastly, add in the featured work of a modern master who not only evokes the nostalgic elements of epic narrative and timeless impressionistic evocation, but is also one of  our town’s great lovers of the entire American holiday tradition…as only a native of faraway China could. In other words, show the latest explorative works by Hongnian Zhang…pieces that take ownership of others’ genres, from portraiture and still lives to breezy seascapes and sun-drenched fieldscapes, while reasserting all that goes in to Hongnian’s major wall-size historical and other epic paintings, commissioned and shown throughout the United States and China. Which is a key focus at Zhang’s longtime local gallery…at Fletcher, on Mill Hill Road.


Most Woodstockers now know Zhang’s story: Born in Nanjing, China, he started his professional training in Western traditions of art at age nine.  By 14 he was the top student in the Central Art Academy Affiliated High School in Beijing, China. And by his mid-twenties he was the youngest artist employed in the Beijing Art Academy. Later, he’d lead the “Scar” art movement, which reflected the painful memories of the Cultural Revolution, and he’d start having his works acquired by the National Art Museum’s permanent collection. He eventually moved to the U.S. for further art studies, remarriage, new gallery fame, with a return to teaching in China for long spells…all while based in his beloved new hometown of Woodstock.

Need we also remind everyone what a warm glow Hongnian’s work creates aside all the other collectible art pieces gallerist Tom Fletcher has assembled for this joyous Holiday Show?

As noted, it’s all on view now through January 13 at the upstairs gallery located at 40 Mill Hill Road, open Thursdays through Sundays, noon to 6 p.m.

Call 679-4411 for further information, or visit fletchergallery.com.