What Ballantine showed me, from wide grass trails built just for his Caddy carriage, was a world remade to his liking. He’d taken a small shallow Catskills valley and dotted it with ponds and lakes linked by sonically-tuned watercourses. Planted tens of thousands of trees, shrubs and flower patches. Reshaped the very land and, as a result, drawn to it new natural flora and fauna.
It was a miracle place that reshaped the very way I saw art as the ultimate in our human drive to understand, reflect, and inevitably shape the world around us. Especially when Ballantine waved off all compliments by noting how he’d done it all to get through a bad marriage that just happened to be combined with the years he’d spent running a successful landscaping and contracting business.
Inside his little house, at that time, Ballantine also showed what he had shifted his attention to: small landscapes. As well as a Japanese-style rock and shrubbery garden on his properties side lot.
This Saturday, January 15, a first major show of George Ballantine’s landscape paintings, which he’s been working on for 30 years now, opens at the Emerson Resort and Spa in Mt. Tremper, care of his longtime painting buddy (and former neighbor in Andes), the painter Robert Selkowitz of OliveShokan
“The recent oil paintings by George Ballantine, as he nears his 89th birthday, reveal beauty, freedom, subtlety and lushness, celebrating his love for the Catskill Mountains,” Selkowitz, who will be sharing wall space with his buddy, says of what he’s wanted to put together for years. “I am honored to join George, showing his plein air Catskill Mountain pastels, some set at the same sites in Andes and sharing the landscape’s inspiration.”
The show, which runs through February 28, opens with a 2 p.m.-4 p.m. reception Saturday January 15, with the following day, noon to 2 p.m., as a snow date.
The Emerson is located at 5340 Route 28 just west of Mount Tremper, and is open most days. For further information call 688-5800 or visit www.emersonresort.com.
And if you go, be sure and ask George about that world he once created… while appreciating that we all know which he’s learned to render so deeply.++
The idea behind Galerie BMG’s new exhibit featuring innovations in photography, opening this weekend, is quite in keeping with the beautiful little gallery’s usual array of shows. It emphasizes both the timeless beauty of traditional photographic processes, when handled well, as well as the many subtle ways in which newer artistic ideas and practices have engaged the medium in recent years. And yet it’s also a departure in many ways, most importantly by being a rare BMG group show. And featuring all new artists to our local market of contemporary photographic aficionados.
Featured will be Charles Grogg, a creator of delicate sewn botanical works; Andreas Rentsch’s “Entangled with Justice” series of prisoner Polaroid negatives; Paul Rider’s studio-created paper landscapes; Jennifer Schlesinger’s “Object Diaspora” of large format pinhole camera memory still lives, and Jessica Somers’ intimate series, “Bend So Not to Break,” exploring the balance between the choices one makes and the uncontrollable circumstances that intervene with these choices in a series of subtly printed smaller works.
At will all be up Fridays through Mondays through February 14 at 12 Tannery Brook Road in the center of Woodstock. For more information call 679-0027 or visit www.galeriebmg.com.++