George Van Hook

Biography

George Van Hook was raised in Pennsylvania, lived and worked as an artist in the Bay Area of California, then returned to the east coast to settle in Cambridge, New York, northeast of Albany. He attended Oberlin College and earned his B.A. in Art at Humboldt State University. Van Hook was featured in En Plein Aire Magazine in Oct/Nov 2012, a cover article for American Artist Magazine in March of 1989 and again in December 2001.

Style

As a young artist, George Van Hook was interested in the early 20th century California Impressionists, as well as with artists such as Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, and Andrew Wyeth. An artist for nearly his entire life, George Van Hook follows in the traditions of J. Alden Weir and William Merritt Chase with his integration of form, light, and color, to create rich, textured landscapes. As a plein air painter, Van Hook always paints in nature, yet he intentionally chooses his locations based on the structures of the site. His paintings are thus deliberately balanced in forms and light, carefully plotted without altering the sovereignty of nature. Van Hook’s landscapes focus on the process of seeing, as one’s sight captures what a camera can miss—visions, sensations, and experiences. Depicting familiar northeast locations, Van Hook translates the impressionist style to a contemporary subject, as he builds lights on darks with confident strokes

Statement

“The experience of seeing is the most important part of the process….My aim is to translate that experience onto the canvas. My eyes are so much better at that than the lens of the camera….” “I feel a kinship and continuity with the entire flow of Western painting since the Renaissance….Having a sense of the larger flow and importance of Western art makes it easier to remain unaffected by the vagaries of quickly passing art fads…"

Honors

George Van Hook has received the following honors: Best of Show, Southern Oregon Art Show, Grants Pass, OR, 1983 Outstanding Young Man of America Award, 1983 Best of Show, Redwood Art Association, Eureka, CA, 1981 John Van Duzer Creative Arts Scholarship, Humboldt State University, 1977 First Place, Ferndale Art Festival, 1976 First Purchase Award, Redwood Art Association, 1976