The Great American Landscape, from Meredith Long & Company, features the work of Larry Horowitz, but the paintings by William Anzalone capture the imagination as well, and a number of artists in this group show manage to stand out with a single painting.
Michael Coleman's "Sneaky Approach" is a fascinating tableau as a fox hides behind some shrubbery near a river stream, while two birds (plovers?) wade upstream, creating a sense of the suspense before the pounce. A number of black birds are flying overhear, while a predator hawk soars above them, an echo of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's "nature red in tooth and claw".
The light on vegetation holds the eye, adding a calmness that is vividness itself. Al Barnes "Ghosting" presents a two-masted sailboat, towing a small barge. while seagulls circle overhead. The ship's bowsprit juts out ahead, holding the additional forward sail, and leading the way like a guide. Trees and an interesting sky complete the maritime picture.
Another work by Barnes relies on composition for its success, with a mostly blue sky, water a much deeper blue, some subtle cacti in the foreground, and a single, solitary predator bird in the right quadrant swooping down for the attack. This is a quiet painting, yet filled with expectant energy.
Philip Koch's "Birches in the Field" uses the whiteness of these trees to attract the eye, while more subtly illustrated telephone poles and wires suggest the intrusion of civilization. William Anzalone's "In and Out of Clouds" dominates the gallery, as it has been hung ideally, where it can be seen from a distance, as well as close up. The blue and orange sky is striking and magnetic, a small barn is seen in a distance, and wild grass in the foreground is ample but unobtrusive. The view is seen from a window, but, wait, is it? There is the frame of a window, the bottom part of a double-hung, but there is no top. And the vegetation is seen in front of the window, toward the viewer, as well as past the window. We have entered the world of mystery, with a wisp of surrealism.
Anzalone's "What Yellow Does" has an engaging blue, green and yellow sky, and he again uses the subtlety of a free-standing window frame, with nature intruding. One gets the sense that in the endless battle between nature and the decay of the artifacts of man, nature is winning, as it always will.
Anzalone foregoes subtlety in a more dominant painting, "Fallen", where a huge tree has been toppled, its branches and trunk filling the space, supplemented with purple vegetation under a pale-orange sky. The branches seem to reach out like alien tentacles. The tree's strength is mysterious, threatening, even though a powerful storm has defeated it.
Larry Horowitz has a painting that is almost a seascape, as a pale-purple sky is reflected in the water, balanced by humans on a small beach at the left, green elsewhere, with a distant building, while a small sailboat on the right adds a spark of variety. The contrast between the dominant sky and the insignificant land is intriguing, and the effect is to create a powerful reality, where nature looms and man is minor, and where the openness of the center of the painting suggests endless possibilities. Without raising its voice, the work indicates the hand of a master painter.
The Great American Landscape continues through July 24, from Meredith Long & Company, 2323 San Felipe, open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 to 6, information at 713-523-6671 or at http://www.meredithlonggallery.com/
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.