Exhibition: Chris Baker and George Van Hook
Saturday, September 20 through Saturday, October 25, 2014
An exhibition of recent paintings by Chris Baker and George Van Hook begins Saturday, September 20 and continues through Saturday, October 25 at Oxford Gallery. An Artists' Reception will be held Saturday, September 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. The Reception is open to the public.
George Van Hook
Over his thirty-five plus years of painting, George Van Hook has established himself among the elite few of New York state's plein air painters. He has exhibited throughout the United States and in Europe, garnering myriad prizes and accolades, and he has been the subject of numerous reviews and articles. Recently his painting "A Morning Walk" took first place at the Ocean Park Plein Air Event, and in 2013 he received first prize at the Finger Lakes Plein Air Festival in Canandaigua, New York. Lillidahl Art Instruction Videos has also just released a video featuring George Van Hook entitled "How to Paint Impressionism Outdoors."
Van Hook's paintings exemplify the finest aspects of plein air style, where the objective must be speed of execution to capture a transient light or a fleeting atmospheric condition. Forms in his work are laid in broadly, each stroke of the brush or palette knife deftly placed to achieve maximum effect, and color harmonies are established primarily through juxtaposition of raw colors. In viewing one of his paintings, our consciousness is divided between the presence of the thing and the presence of the artist. The subject of the painting is there before us and recognizable, be it landscape, still life or figure, but it never becomes a presence fully dominating our consciousness. Its emergence into full representation is forever compromised by the gestural presence of the artist, creating a tension which brings sustained excitement to our viewing experience
A native of upstate New York, Chris Baker received his BFA and his MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology. Although adept in both oil and transparent watercolor, Baker's medium of choice is gouache, a uniquely flexible medium that can be applied in a highly viscous state to build texture or diluted to create the broad washes of color or the flowing lines which we usually associate with the watercolor medium. Baker uses the medium to its fullest effect, combining, in a single work, a finely drawn line with expressive flourishes, or a deeply recessive space with the inherent flatness of the watercolor surface.
An avid traveler, Baker finds his subject matter in his travels, which are as wide-ranging as his stylistic effects. The painter's gaze may focus on the architectural intricacies of a door jamb, the geometrical lines of a street corner, or the imposing authority of a historical monument. But in the end result, it is a fundamental humanity which informs Baker's images. His world is one which is present and inhabited. Each of Baker's works is a 'snapshot' frozen in time and extolling the commonplace. A consistent theme running through nearly all of Baker's work is, in fact, the intersection of past and present: the point of juncture between the timeless and the everyday.