While studying art at Purchase College in the 1970s, Larry Horowitz discovered en plein air, or painting outdoors. Under luminaries like Paul Resika, he mastered “painting the moment in time, painting quickly and capturing something ... some middle ground between what is seen in a photograph and what is seen in an emotional way.”
Sometimes that process is more glamorous than others, he added. Some days, it’s all sunshine. Other days, Horowitz endures wind, rain, cold and mosquitoes. Either way, he said, “There’s nothing like being there and figuring it out.”
Horowitz is one of 12 artists featured in a new group exhibition at Madelyn Jordon Fine Art, 37 Popham Road, Scarsdale. “Staging Nature: A World Unto Itself” includes roughly 20 paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures, and is on display through May 11. The public is invited to an opening reception with the artists Friday, March 29, from 6 to 8 p.m.
“It’s all about the experience of nature,” said gallery owner Madelyn Jordon. “These are all artists who may have different ways of using our surroundings ... in their work, but the way they make art is different.”
In “Staging Nature,” Abigail Goldman’s strikingly vivid miniatures marry domesticity, wildlife and murder. Adam Handler’s whimsical works on canvas incorporate natural elements such as trees and tulips. Susan Wides’ photographs depict natural and urban environments.
“[Landscape] is a traditional idea in art,” Jordon said. “It’s very, very old school. ... [But] there are multiple genres within that overall heading. That’s what I wanted to convey.”
Another featured artist is Sandrine Kern, whose love for art has been a steady flame. Born in Paris, France, she spent her childhood experimenting with watercolor, drawings and lithography, inspired by French artists like Jean Dubuffet, Édouard Vuillard and Nicolas de Staël. (She also loves Mark Rothko and Alberto Giacometti.) After Kern moved to San Francisco with her family in 1996, “I realized it was the only thing I could be doing,” she said. “It was the only thing I was really passionate about.” Shortly thereafter, she found her niche in abstract landscape paintings, one of which was featured in the 2005 romantic comedy “Monster-in-Law,” starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda.
Now 54, Kern’s paintings are inching toward realism, she said.
“I’m trying to make the landscape more challenging, trying to look into the depth, the colors and the lines,” she explained. “It’s [still] not really clear. It’s more the way I see.” Her works are representations of her inner life, drawing on memories and emotions from her distant and recent past.
These intuitive pieces infuse oil sticks, oil paint and cold wax in a technique resembling encaustic. Kern continues to work the rich, layered canvas with a knife and solvents.
“It’s never quick,” she said of her process. “If it works perfectly, I can do it maybe in three weeks.”
Kern admits she has trouble graduating to a new piece, often fixating on each to a fault. “It’s hard to get satisfied,” she said. “I always want something better.”
Horowitz, by contrast, said he paints to please himself. “If I don’t paint every day I’m miserable,” said Horowitz, 62. “My wife says I’m awful when I don’t paint.”
The artist lives in Yorktown Heights and has amassed solo exhibitions across the country. While he’s known for traditional oil paintings, Horowitz doesn’t limit himself to one media. He’s painted on square pieces of wood, boxes, a violin case, an oar and a commode (a wheeled chamber pot).
“Paint doesn’t do exactly what you want it to do. It’s almost like there’s an interloper in the process,” Horowitz said. “That fight you have with the paint and your idea is what makes a good painting.”
Wolf Kahn, to whom Horowitz was an apprentice for six years after college, is also a featured artist in “Staging Nature.” Horowitz called his apprenticeship a “fruitful experience” in which he learned “the secret sauce, the aura ... [of] being an artist.”
The crux is “being comfortable with yourself,” Horowitz said, and growing continuously. He commits a period every year to a new area of study.