WILLIAMSTOWN , MA -- HARRISON GALLERY FEATURES NEW ENGLAND PAINTINGS OF HALE JOHNSON
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - From July 1-31, 2005 , the Harrison Gallery will present a solo exhibition of paintings by Hale Johnson. There will be a reception with the artist on Friday, July 1, 2005 from 4 to 7 pm . The public is invited to join us for this very special event. Hale Johnson is originally from New Jersey . He attended Lafayette College in Pennsylvania , and the Newark School of Fine Art in Newark , New Jersey . Johnson now lives in western Massachusetts .
Johnson is known for his still, spare, iconic landscapes of New England , England and Scotland . Weathered barns, boats and rusted farm equipment are the subjects of paintings that show a Yankee restraint and precision akin to that of Emily Dickinson's poetry. Johnson's oil paintings betray his love of history. When asked about his works, he said "I just simply can't sit and paint a vase of flowers for two hours. It just doesn't interest me." His paintings are rooted in the regional history around him. In referring to his landscapes, Johnson mentions that he loves the old historic structures because they "set right to the land." His depictions of architecture and working tools speak to the human struggle for survival in a challenging climate of New England .
Johnson has painted landscapes for 38 years. He paints in oil on canvas or panel, and uses a medium grey ground. He works on site for studies and sketches, then develops larger, finished works in his studio. The paintings display a balance of loose brushy areas with contrasting passages of very precisely rendered details. Although the design, compositions, and overall vision of his work have remained consistent throughout his career, Johnson says that if anything has changed, the work has become "a bit looser and more painterly" over time. His work has often been compared to that of Andrew Wyeth and Eric Sloan.