PITTSFIELD, MASS.- Berkshire Museum
presents Radical Traditionalism, an exhibition of works by two area-based painters, Janet Rickus and Colin Brant, curated by artist and critic, Carol Diehl. Rickus is known for her meticulous still life paintings of fruits and vegetables, while Brants subject is lush landscape that often includes vignettes of people at play. Radical Traditionalism opened to the public on November 8, 2013, and will be on view through January 2, 2014.
Artists have been painting still life and landscape for centuries, Diehl says, but what the paintings of Rickus and Brant have in common is an added psychological undercurrent, a hidden narrative that makes their work completely contemporary. Rickus has a way of imbuing ordinary edibles, such as sweet potatoes, with tinges of personality that make them appear in tender relationship with each other. On the other hand, Brants bucolic landscapes have a slightly dark cast, as if something is about to happen of which his frolickers are unaware. Neither, however, is obvious; in both the effects are so subtle a casual view might miss them.
A Great Barrington resident, Janet Rickus sold her first still life painting in 1983, and since has exhibited widely in New York City and New England, including a 2001 solo exhibition at The Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield. In 2006 she was the recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in painting. Her work can be found at Gallery Henoch in New York City; the Clark Gallery in Lincoln, Massachusetts; Quidley & Company in Nantucket and Boston; and the Harrison Gallery in Williamstown, where her paintings will be on exhibition for the month of November. Her work is also part of a group exhibition, Still Life Lives! at the Fitchburg Art Museum through January 12, 2014.
Colin Brant, who was born in California in 1965, has a BA from University of California Santa Cruz, and an MFA from the University of Iowa. He has had solo exhibitions at the Adam Baumgold Gallery in New York and Beth Urdang Gallery in Boston, and in 2011 at the Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont. Brant is the recipient of artist fellowships from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and in 1998 and 2004, the New York Foundation for the Arts. With his wife, painter Ann Pibal, and young daughter, he divides his time between North Bennington and New York City.
Among the galleries and museums where curator Carol Diehl has exhibited her paintings are the Sidney Janis Gallery, Hirshl & Adler Gallery, Gary Snyder Fine Art, and the Queens Museum, all in New York City, the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and the Berkshire Museum. She has served on the faculties of Bennington College and the Graduate Fine Arts Program of the School of Visual Arts (NYC), and is the recipient of artist fellowships from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Diehl is a contributing editor to Art in America, and the author of the popular blog, Art Vent, for which she received an Arts Writers Grant from the Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation in 2011.