Outdoor Palette

Charlie Hunter, Closed for the Season (Burlington Ferry), 2006, 48" x 48", oil on canvas.

Those of us who live in the Northeast are familiar with the vicissitudes of winter. We know firsthand that not every day sparkles with rime ice or delivers fluffy drifts of sun-dappled snow. We know all too well the monochromatic gray days that stretch out under leaden skies – the days where color seems leached out of the landscape.

In Closed for the Season (Burlington Ferry), Charlie Hunter teases out the beauty of those quiet days with great attention to light and atmosphere. He is a facile painter; the work looks as if it was dashed off in an energetic calligraphic flourish. Soft sweeping ribbons of tire tracks skid us around, while contrapuntally, the darkening road pulls us toward the maw of the dormant ferry terminal.

There is a commitment to truth in this depiction of the slushy semi-traveled road. Hunter likes to show what atmosphere, light, and temperature do to the things we build and create. How is this day affecting the arching tire tracks and the quiet ferry dock? Writing about nontraditional subject matter in landscape painting, the art historian Kenneth Clark said: here is “an opportunity for the delicacy of perception, the act of love, which justifies the landscape of fact.”

Like most good painters, Hunter struggles to translate what moves him. The struggle is well masked here, and we are left with a seemingly unlabored depiction of a soft and changing day. Hunter said that his goal as an artist is “to paint beautifully that which is not traditionally considered beautiful.” He has achieved this in Closed for the Season (Burlington Ferry).

Charlie Hunter is represented by West Branch Gallery, 17 Towne Farm Lane, Stowe, Vermont, 802-253-8943. He may be reached through his website.


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