The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art hosted two events on Friday, Oct. 2 about landscape paintings and the works of Jervis McEntee, a local artist whose work is featured in his own exhibit at the museum.
“Painters capture movement,” said presenter Skip Doyle to a room full of men and women eager to learn about the beauty that a paintbrush can create over that of a camera. According to Doyle, while photographs may capture a certain moment in time, a camera simply cannot capture the truth, but a painter can.
Doyle, in his presentation at the Student Union Building on the college’s campus, introduced landscape paintings from across the 1800s by artists such as John Trumbull, Thomas Cole and Gilbert Stuart. Those in attendance were asked to ponder simple questions such as “Who’s your favorite painter?” and “What’s your favorite piece?” accompanied by deeper questions such as “What are U.S. citizens in search of?” and “What is this country?” These questions prompted guests to gather an understanding of the underlying meaning of the landscape paintings presented. Doyle even threw in the infamous, “Who are we?”
Topics discussed in relation to landscape paintings included politics, such as those of President Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, commerce through agriculture, information and industry, religion in the aspect of God, man, nature and spirits and, of course, literature and art. Local nature was spotted in the presentation in paintings of the Catskill Mountains and Lake Mohonk.
“The site touches you,” said McEntee, the artist on display. “If you can make it touch others, you are a successful artist.”
Following the presentation was a gallery talk by educator Kevin Cook on none other than McEntee. Cook talked about McEntee’s art style and life as an artist through his travels and hardships.
McEntee’s displayed art at the museum included his pieces of late autumn scenery, coming of age landscapes, truth to nature, winter scenery, progressive adaptability and European Sojourn. His artistic style is known for its melancholy mood and resembles that of poetry, with cloudy skies and falling, fading leaves.
Cook taught the audience that McEntee showed many aspiring artists of the Hudson Valley area “the way.” McEntee was remembered for showing artists the places to paint and how to paint the landscapes with the movement featured in the particular piece of nature still intact.
“Jervis McEntee is one of my heroes,” Cook said.
SUNY New Paltz students can view the “Jervis McEntee: Painter-Poet of the Hudson River School” exhibition at the museum for free, non-students are encouraged to give a small donation upon entrance. The exhibition is on display until Dec. 13, 2015.