Wednesday 12 October 2016



With 100s of historic buildings, Hudson has been called the "finest dictionary of American architecture in New York State”. BUT it has had its ups & downs. From the 1780s it was an active port, by 1820 the 4th largest city & coming within one vote of being named the capital of New York state. By 1900 it was famous for sex, drugs & guns.
Antique dealers revived the town in the 1980s, and now it’s the hot place to be for galleries, food, music, theatre & art - and of course the landscape! 

20 years ago LYNN DAVIS photographed all the 300 buildings along both sides of Warren St. To celebrate, her series is on show, snaking its way all around VINCENT MULFORD Antiques. Salutary it is. A great documentation, images clear & elegant, truthful & timeless. 
We arrived in 2002 and even since then much has changed, restored, gentrified etc but some parts remain dilapidated, waiting.

These images were first shown at the Haddad Gallery. 
HUDSON's main street is lined with art galleries. DAVIS ORTON & BCB ART are at the bottom near the station; Carrie HADDAD is at the top. In between are MANY big & small. 

CARRIE HADDAD GALLERYCARRIE HADDAD opened her Hudson NY gallery 25 years ago. Hudson was a totally different place then, it was a brave move. Today Hudson is the hot place to be, a weekend town for New Yorkers a mere 2 yrs along the glorious Hudson River: the most beautiful train trip in America.  

This month abstractions is to the fore. Haddad has a great, full room display of JACK WALLS emotional looking b&w linear heads, which makes a terrific design background for JOE WHEATON's large scale metal sculpture which I just love; metal arabesques - elegant, organic, very oriental.
Haddad also shows abstractions from BRUCE MURPHY created by veils of metallic gold & silver
Straight across Warren Street from Haddad a newer enterprise, GALERIE GRIS, also shows abstraction, this time geometrics from RYAN RUSSO based on, I am told, the audio/video data from VHS tapes of specific films or music albums. The results are black lines on colour. Linear again but this time formal, regimented, reductive repeats. 

Galerie Gris also shows minimalist paintings by a youngish artist: JERAMIAH ARNESON. I was impressed by the control Arneson has over these huge areas of strong hue edged by tiny coloured corners: leaf green against lavender; orange on pink. Terrific. 

Across the road JEFF BAILEY GALLERY also shows abstracts but minimal, black, white & grey, controlled, precise. Bailey had a place in Chelsea till recently. 
 Here PETE SCHULTE, an MFA from Iowa Uni, also gives us a site-specific wall drawing - which works really well! 

E.E. IKELER an MFA from Yale, uses texture together with almost hidden text, to create complex colour images in gentle, reflective tones. 
THE DAVIS ORTON GALLERY at 114 Warren St, presents a serious show inspired by the international movement, BLACK LIVES MATTER .    
NICOLE BUCHANAN's series, The Skin I’m In, addresses the basic fact of discrimination against minorities. Here are 16 head & bare shoulders. Each person emerges from darkness into a luminous setting, & stares into the camera, dignified, neither aggressive nor submissive, to defy racial presumptions. Buchanan is a recent IMPRESSIVE graduate from RISD with a BFA in photography. 

AMANDA CHESTNUT also tackles the African American issue but via her hair. “I spent years allowing myself to be defined by my hair. This, more than any other part of my body, has been used by others to measure how black I am, how white I am, how smart, how much money I have, & how much I am worth as an individual. Why should hair mean so much.”
Chestnut’s narrative of race & gender conveys the emotion & lasting impact of her personal experience. 
Meanwhile DON RUSSELL & BEN ARNON also look at issues of colour. 
DON RUSSELL's portfolio COWBOYS of COLOUR documents the rich cowboy culture of rodeos & ranching in dramatic images: posed, strong, vivid.  Women cowgirls too. Russell is white & originally knew nothing of this life but grew to love it. 

BEN ARNON is a New York City-based visual journalist whose focus is documentary reportage & street portraiture. Of the Black Lives Matter parades & protests, he says, 
"These photographs tell the truth. This is what democracy looks like. This is what America looks like.”

HUDSON is awash with art. Not all good, but well worth a trip! 

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