“Painting in Blairstown” opens in The Romano Gallery on November 18, giving visitors the opportunity to view paintings of Blairstown-area landscapes created by New York City-based artist Lois Dodd and 13 of her artist friends. Ms. Dodd, the mother of Blair architecture teacher Eli King, is an award-winning artist whose work has been the subject of more than 50 solo exhibitions since 1954. She will visit The Romano Gallery for an artist’s reception on December 5, beginning at 7 p.m. The exhibit runs through December 21.
Ms. Dodd exhibits regularly at the Alexandre Gallery in New York City and has shown her work throughout the U.S. and internationally, including, most recently, at the Montclair Museum and the Kemper Museum. She is widely known for paintings that transform the ordinary around her into poetic moments filled with color and light.
Having studied at the Cooper Union in the late 1940s, Ms. Dodd was one of five founding members in 1952 of the legendary Tanager Gallery, one of the first artist-run cooperative galleries in New York City. She retired from teaching at Brooklyn College in 1992 and counts among her many honors election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Academy.
Fellow artists Joe Fiore and David Dewey introduced Ms. Dodd to the beauty of Warren County. She frequently invites friends and students to accompany her when she paints area views. Among those who have painted with her are the following artists, whose work will be on display in The Romano Gallery:
Rita Baragona: A Blair faculty member from 1989 to 2013, Ms. Baragona taught painting and drawing to a generation of Bucs. She has exhibited her work solo and as part of groups at venues throughout U.S. She holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and attended the New York Studio School.
Paul Carrellas: Mr. Carrellas is a faculty member at Lehman College and holds a BFA from the Swain School of Design and an MFA from Queens College. In an artist’s statement, he noted, “My paintings are representational and made directly from observation. However, verisimilitude is never my aim. The real goal is to reconfigure appearance in order to reveal a tension between the underlying abstract structure and the depiction of reality.”
David Dewey: For more than 30 years, Mr. Dewey has regularly exhibited his extraordinary watercolor paintings in New York City, Maine and throughout the U.S. His work is included in many major museums, as well as public and private collections, including at Blair Academy. He holds a BFA from the Philadelphia College of Art and an MFA from Washington State University, and has enjoyed a long and successful teaching career.
Jeffrey Epstein: Mr. Epstein counts Ms. Dodd as his mentor, having studied with her as he earned his MFA at Brooklyn College. His many solo shows include one in 2010 at The Romano Gallery, and he has been part of numerous group shows in Maine, New York and New Jersey. As he painted with Ms. Dodd in Blairstown, Mr. Epstein learned “how to go about painting onsite,” as well as “the value of stopping sooner rather than later.”
Daniel Finaldi: “I am a representational painter, and each image is constructed from observation from onset to finish,” Mr. Finaldi says in his artist’s statement. A teacher of fine art at Freehold Borough High School since 2001, he has numerous solo and group exhibitions to his credit. His work is included in the collections of Messiah College and Rider University. He earned his BFA at SUNY at New Paltz and MFA at Brooklyn College, where he studied with Ms. Dodd.
Joseph Fiore: In 2001, Mr. Fiore won the Andrew Carnegie Prize for painting at New York’s National Academy of Design. His subjects include abstract and representational landscapes, and he exhibited in numerous solo and group shows throughout his career. Mr. Fiore studied and taught at Black Mountain College, and later taught at the Philadelphia College of Art, Maryland College of Art and the National Academy. He died in in 2008.
Leslie Hertzog: Ms. Hertzog holds a BFA in painting from the University of Cincinnati and an MFA in painting and printmaking from the University of Hawaii. “My paintings originate as plein-air and proceed to completion later in the studio,” she says in her artist’s statement. “My paintings seek to establish a convincing light and sense of place that is achieved through color exaggeration and invention.”
Julie Jankowski: Ms. Jankowski is a graduate of Ball State University (BFA) and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MFA). She regularly exhibits her work in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area and teaches post-secondary art courses. In her work, she “borrows from ideas of constant surveillance and the prevalence of satellite images in contemporary culture. She incorporates maps of cities and highways, graffiti marks, and images of stadiums that straddle the realms of abstraction and representation to make her paintings.”
Arthur Kvarnstrom: “Growing up in the country, walking in the fields and woods allowed for a thorough immersion in the sights, sounds and smells of nature,” Mr. Kvarnstrom says in his artist’s statement. “The natural world is alive and wondrous. Being present in nature is a deeply spiritual experience that I share through painting.” A BFA graduate of the University of Arizona and MFA graduate of Kent State University, Mr. Kvarnstrom has earned numerous awards for his artwork, which is included in public and private collections.
Lynn Kotula: Ms. Kotula paints from observation, and her works include landscapes, still lifes and drawings. “In all my painting, what compels me is exploring the tension between what I see and what I can invent as an equivalent in two dimensions,” she says in her artist’s statement. “I want to paint paintings in which each gesture—color or line—has multiple meanings.” Ms. Kotula exhibits her work in solo and group shows on the East Coast and beyond.
Barbara Kulicke: An accomplished artist, Ms. Kulicke exhibited in more than 20 solo shows and many group shows, and her work is included in the Newark Museum’s collection. She was honored by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts with a Fellowship Award for artistic excellence. Ms. Kulicke passed away in 2015.
Elizabeth O’Reilly: Ms. O'Reilly received her MFA from Brooklyn College and her B.Ed from the National University of Ireland. She has participated in residencies at the Ballinglen Foundation, Ireland, the Ucross Foundation, Wyoming, and the Ragdale Foundation, Illinois, and has received numerous awards, including a Pollock Krasner Foundation grant.
St. Clair Sullivan: Mr. Sullivan, husband of former Blair art teacher Rita Baragona, received an AB in English from Princeton University and attended the New York Studio School. Many of his paintings depict the natural beauty of the Delaware Water Gap and Appalachian Trial. Mr. Sullivan has exhibited in solo and group shows, and he is the recipient of two New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship Grants.