SILVERMAN AND HAMILTON SQUARE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION present
“From the Metropolis and the Mountains: Paintings by Robert Hendrickson”
Opening Reception: Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 6–8 p.m.
232 Pavonia Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Exhibition on view in the lobby from January 20, 2016, to May 6, 2016.
Curated by Brendan Carroll, brendanscottcarroll.com
“I work directly from what I see.” –Robert Hendrickson
SILVERMAN and Hamilton Square Condominium Association present “From the Metropolis and the Mountains: Paintings by Robert Hendrickson.” This exhibition comprises a series of modest to large-scale oil paintings on linen, canvas, and wood panel. The mini survey, which spans 10 years, features both urban and pastoral landscapes completed in the plein-air tradition. The scenes are devoid of people but never lifeless.
For the past three decades, Robert Hendrickson has chosen to paint the places he has called home: Jersey City, Bayonne, and Colchester, NY. With titles such as Bayonne Sunset (2008), Pulaski Skyway (2005), Colgate Clock, Afternoon (2010), Pepacton Inlet (2012), Shed in Snow (2010), and Zinnias (2014), Hendrickson’s paintings present his everyday subjects in an unsentimental, no-nonsense style. His brushwork is direct, unfussy, knowing. The paintings are as much about color, light, and shape they are about depicting specific locales.
In a thrilling development, there’s a new sense of brevity to his forms. Hendrickson paints what he sees, nothing more, nothing less: a fledgling tomato plant under the midday sun; a fallen tree in a snow-covered woodlot; an isolated road unfurling into Hoboken. He never rearranges what he sees to fit an idealized view or a conception of the landscape. He is faithful to what nature presents to him. But it would be careless to suggest that his paintings have ever bordered on hyperrealism. Eliciting a sense of space has always seemed to be more important than capturing the likeness of the objects being depicted.
Hendrickson tends to paint on a modest scale, which he likens to writing a short story. These paintings, unburdened by superfluous detail, simplify the landscape to geometry and hue. From time to time, however, he likes to open up space and paint on a large scale. These works, by contrast, feel more “like an epic novel” to him. Hoboken Panorama, for example, provides a sweeping, all encompassing view of the Mile Square City, which never seems bogged down by minutia.
Intuition, more than emotional connection or convenience, determines what scene he will or will not decide to paint. “This intuition allows me to find landscapes that lend themselves to an interesting abstract arrangement of forms and space,” he remarks.
“I used to really enjoy driving around the metropolis this side of the Hudson, attempting to find my next painting spot. It was like a treasure hunt. It was always the more ordinary that interested me. I never wanted my painting to be overwhelmed by the subject that I was painting. For example, the Manhattan skyline is a very attractive thing to try to paint. But for me, it may be a difficult thing to paint in a way that it doesn’t look like some picture postcard.”
He started painting the landscape in the late 1980s as an undergraduate at American University in Washington, D.C. One of Hendrickson’s professors allowed him to skip class so he could pursue his goal to paint the nearby landscape around the nation’s capital. He has not looked back in 30 years.
Why paint the landscape, and why now?
“It’s an odd thing to be painting the landscape in the present time, but it is something I enjoy doing,” notes Hendrickson. “I think there is a formal visual language that has developed since people have been making [landscapes], and by continuing that tradition, I am connected to something larger than myself.”
One distinction to be made between his urban and pastoral scenes is temperament. More often than not, the paintings set in and around Bayonne and Jersey City feature nondescript locations: vacant lots, side streets, dead ends. New York City’s skyline appears in many of these works but at a considerable distance, and it is often obstructed by rivers, neighborhoods, and highways. The Big Apple is close but not close enough, more a specter than a thriving metropolis. Per Hendrickson’s eye and hand, the city will always be beyond one’s grasp, leaving viewers to feel as though they’ll never get there.
By contrast, the paintings completed on Hendrickson’s property in upstate New York feel intimate, accessible. The subject matter is always close at hand and within arm’s reach. To look at a painting of his flower garden, one can imagine sitting on a lawn chair in his yard, enjoying a cold glass of iced tea during a spring day in May, possibly playing a game of I Spy with the clouds.
ISE Cultural Foundation, George Billis Gallery, and Rotunda Gallery have organized solo exhibitions of his work. Gallery Shoshinkan, New Jersey City University, Ramapo College of New Jersey, and Frederieke Taylor Gallery, among others, have featured his landscape paintings in numerous group exhibitions. Jersey Journal, American Art Collector, and Dallas Morning News have written about his paintings. He has received awards from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York Studio School, and Wayne Art Center, and many others.
Hendrickson earned his MFA in Painting from Southern Methodist University (2004) in Dallas, TX, and his BA in Studio Art and Art History from American University (1989) in Washington, D.C. He has taught painting at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO, and New York Studio School in New York, NY. He lives and works in Bayonne and Colchester, NY.
The exhibition will be on view at Hamilton Square Condominium through May 6, 2016. For further information, please visit us at SILVERMAN or call 201.435.8000. Hamilton Square is located in 232 Pavonia Avenue in Jersey City, NJ.
“From the Metropolis and the Mountains: Paintings by Robert Hendrickson” is the 29th exhibition that Brendan Carroll will organize for SILVERMAN. For additional information on the artist, go here: robertrhendrickson.com.
SILVERMAN has presented the works of Sarah Becktel, Kati Vilim, Mark Dagley, Candy Le Sueur, Ed Fausty, Anna Mogilevsky, Ali Harrington, Sara Wolfe, Anne Percoco, Shauna Finn, Melanie Vote, Paul Lempa, Fanny Allié, Michael Meadors, John A. Patterson, Charlotte Becket, Roger Sayre, Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, Tom McGlynn, Margaret Murphy, Valeri Larko, Tenesh Webber, Glenn Garver, Jennifer Krause Chapeau, Michelle Doll, Tim Heins, Megan Maloy, Laurie Riccadonna, Thomas John Carlson, Tim Daly, Ann Flaherty, Scott Taylor, Jason Seder, Sara Wolfe, Beth Gilfilen, Andrzej Lech, Hiroshi Kumagai, Victoria Calabro, Asha Ganpat, Darren Jones, Ryan Roa,Laura Napier, Risa Puno, Nyugen E. Smith, Amanda Thackray, and Kai Vierstra.