Bowery Gallery:  Christine Hartman: Recent Work    Feb 26 - March 23, 2013                     back


Still Life with Oak Leaves
oil on canvas
30 x 39 inches


One can think of all manner of ways that a painting can instantly catch the eye: quirky imagery, spell-binding technique, stylistical flamboyance, off-the-wall concepts, evocative mixtures of media, and so on.

Christine Hartman’s paintings at Bowery Gallery resonate in subtler, deeper ways. At a glance, the ten canvases, almost all of them still lifes, stand out as faithful observations of carefully arranged objects. Nuanced colors and brushwork combine to produce an appealingly atmospheric effect. Closer inspection reveals faint networks of angling lines, no doubt the artist’s means of getting acquainted with the interior spaces of the paintings. But the most compelling aspect of these paintings is the way that the artist weights and characterizes her objects through pressures of color.  

The single most impressive work here may be “Still Life with Oak Leaves,” which depicts a complex, two-tiered arrangement of common objects. Intervals of color pressures locate a bowl of plums—holding richly in the depths—a few inches from the silvery, vertical gesture of a pitcher and the contrasting curves of yellow squash. Above, atop a cardboard box, a tilting basket reveals a cluster of oranges fringed in light. Every one of these objects holds, with a measurable presence, within larger sequences that engage in turn with other sequences.

Along with several other strong works in the exhibition, the painting reminds us how subjective vision is, and how the transposition to canvas, with each moment weighted in color and line, involves all manner of complex inventions. At her best, Hartman achieves some of the spacious, luminous deliberation of Chardin—no small feat, especially in a time favoring obvious and ostentatious effects.

Bowery Gallery, Feb 26 - March 23, 2013
530 W 25th St, New York NY 10001
646-230-6655 · www.bowerygallery.org