The Harrison Gallery will present a solo show of realist landscape paintings by Hale Johnson from August 2 – August 31. The artist will attend the show’s opening reception at the Gallery on Saturday, August 2, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.
To look at a Hale Johnson painting is to look straight into the soul of rural America… to see what it used to be and what it has become. His landscape paintings -- of weathered barns, fallow fields, tilted fence posts or rusting farm tools -- evoke a feeling of quiet abandonment. His works convey the strong sense that the objects he paints, inanimate as they are, have a powerful will to survive and to hang on with dignity. And as if to threaten that survival, Johnson often paints gathering black clouds on the horizon, omens of an imminent and violent thunderstorm.
Like Andrew Wyeth and Eric Sloan, artists he’s often compared with, Johnson is fascinated by the textures he finds in rustic settings – the peeling paint on old barns or the rough surface of foundation stones, the dusty red rust on a tin roof or the crumbling wood of a discarded boat. He paints these textures in loving detail but his paintings are not photorealistic. He balances his precision work with areas of loosely brushed strokes, and by blending techniques – from high focus to a more “painterly” style – he can interpret his scene and infuse it with mood and emotion. This gives Johnson his voice, so to speak, and his solitary barn perched on a vast horizon can speak eloquently about itself.
Johnson, an established oil landscapist for more than forty years, paints scenes he finds near his home in Colrain, Massachusetts. He often travels throughout New England, Ireland, England and Scotland to find the places that evoke in him strong feelings for the history of the land and the people who toiled there.
Johnson, who attended Lafayette College and the Newark School of Fine Arts, has had more than fifty one-man shows and his work has developed a large and enthusiastic following in the United States and abroad. He’s a member of the American Artists Professional League, the Academic Artist’s Association, the Copley Society, the Berkshire Art Association and the Salmagundi Club.