Painter Ralph Moseley will end a nearly 50-year-long exhibition hiatus to share a fraction of the work that he has accomplished in the interim. In relatively self-imposed isolation, the artist – who emerged from the Color Field movement in abstract painting of the 1950s and ’60s – never let up from looking at nature and translating what he saw in a manner that seems “halfway between realism and abstraction.”
In an artist’s statement he writes, “I’ve always painted landscapes… I focused on seeing every landscape at the moment that I was looking at it as a dominant overall chord of color that was formed by the combination of the different individual colors in it.” His more realistic landscapes and large-scale stylized figures are depictions of local scenes and people. Recently using only rectangles and lines, he creates asymmetrical compositions and brushstrokes that are looser and freer.
The upcoming exhibit in the Art Gallery of Lockwood Architecture has been curated by Moseley’s longtime friend and champion, Barbara Redfield (an original trustee of Olana). She says, “His studio is a treasure-trove. I pestered him for 20 years to take his work out. After [being involved] in the Color Field movement in the late ’60s early ’70s, he felt that the people who were really worthy were not selling, and he said, ‘That’s it’ and just dropped out of the art world. But he’s painted every single day without any connections to anyone.
“I’ve always felt that his work is incredible. And this gallery is brand-new. The lighting is museum-quality. When Michael Lockwood, also an artist, opened his architectural office, he had the idea that he’d use some space to promote local artists. This is his first big opening of the space.” An overview of many decades of artmaking, the exhibit will include 15 to 20 large oil paintings of landscape, still life and portraits, along with 20 giclée prints that will include line drawings and sketches.
A graduate of Williams College, Moseley exhibited at a gallery on 57th Street and was a part of the 1969 Whitney Biennial before exiting the art world to paint for himself. Allowing his initial idea to evolve organically on the canvas, Moseley says that he goes where the process tells him to go. Again from his artist statement: “In the past I’ve used several different formats for organizing a picture. I think that from one perspective any serious artist is always doing the same painting again and again for their entire life. Over time the format and type of image may change, but at its root it’s always the same painting. At least that’s always been true for me.”
An opening reception will be held on Saturday, Junee 22 from 4 until 7 p.m. The exhibit will hang through July 29. A portion of sales proceeds will be donated to the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, Byrdcliffe and the Woodstock Land Conservancy.
“50 Years of Landscapes & People” by Ralph Moseley, Saturday, June 22, 4-7 p.m., Lockwood Art Gallery, 747 Route 28, Kingston; (845) 443-6666, www.ralphmoseleyart.com/index.html.