August 1st - 31st
Paintings and drawings by Greta Gundersen, August 1st to 31st
Greta Gundersen was a prolific Belchertown-based artist who passed away in 2017. This exhibit is a selection of oil paintings and graphite drawings from her large body of work.
Greta was primarily a painter of abstract landscapes. She described them as "[hovering] between abstraction and representation." Her works have an ethereal quality. The drawings have identifiable single subjects -- bats, birds, bulbs of garlic -- but they exist in a hazy liminal space. She captured the essence of her subjects and gave us delicate images that feel like dream visions preserved before they fade upon waking. Her paintings extend this dreamlike quality. There is no immediately discernible location, and often a simple title gives little clue, such as "Landscape #45" or simply "Untitled". But these pieces draw us in, they speak to the non-verbal part of us, the places we can't describe clearly but we know exist. These are transitional images that exist between what is and what might be.
"I strive to create a picture plane that does not admit to being a painting, to blur the border in between the air surrounding the work and the work itself, to create a place of enigma that people can stand in front of and enter into in whatever way they choose. A successful landscape painting is one that seems familiar yet not readily identifiable -- is it sky, land, water, or something else altogether?"
These works are being made available by her husband Peter Lobdell so they can be seen and appreciated - to get her work out of storage and back out into the world. For this reason they will be priced at less than half their appraised value. Near the end of her life, a gallerist and art critic wrote to Greta, "Some people leave children behind them, but you will leave paintings. And they’re good paintings, works that will be able to make their way in the world when you’re not here.”
Opening Reception: Thursday, August 1st, 5-8pm, during Amherst Arts Night Plus
Hear Greta Gundersen talk about her work in this wonderful video shared with us by Shoshona King.
About Greta Gundersen (1952-2017):
A native New Yorker of Norwegian descent, Greta Gundersen lived in New York City, California, Spain, and South America. From 1981-1990, she was the director of BACA Downtown, a nonprofit visual and performing arts center in Brooklyn, where she curated more than 80 exhibitions and nine years of theatrical programming, which earned her an OBIE "for keeping experimental theater alive and well in New York City." In 1990 she became the Artistic Director of The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council at the World Trade Center. For over 10 years she served as a panelist and consultant with The Rockefeller Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., The Jerome Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Jim Henson Foundation, among others, reviewing work by artists and organizations from around the country. She left New York City for western MA in 1995 to paint full time. She had been an Artist-in-Residence at the Millay Colony for the Arts in New York, and at Altos de Chavon in the Dominican Republic, and apprenticed with painters Miguel Arguello in Spain and Francisco Ruiz in Colombia. Her work was featured in numerous exhibitions in galleries and museums in the US and abroad including: Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, NY; Thornwood Gallery, Dallas, TX; Gerald Peters Gallery, Dallas, TX; Amsterdam’s, New York, NY; TNT Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; and Fair Oaks Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Learn more about Greta at: gretagundersen.com
"The Nascent Shift - AM", oil on canvas, 20x20", 2015 (detail)
"The Nascent Shift - Twilight", oil on canvas, 20x20", 2015
"The Nascent Shift - Night", oil on canvas, 20x20", 2015 (detail)