Concerned about celebrating and preserving nature from the escalating consequences of industrialization, Kristin Flynn and Michael Kirk continue the American tradition pioneered by the Hudson River School artists as they explore the emotional qualities of light, space, the intimacy of nature and its vastness. Paintings and drawings of birds, nests and trees echo each other in shape, gesture and transitional moments, intensified by palettes of black and white, dawn and dusk.
With graphite, charcoal and acrylic on paper and panel, Kristin Flynn draws and paints the delicate process of birth into death into birth. As a microcosm of the earth’s systems, birds reflect nature’s fragility and strength, its nurturing and destruction. Nests made of dead leaves and twigs cradle new eggs while fertile soil and snow enfold the feathers of a fallen bird. Rigor becomes fetal as shapes and patterns entwine, forming a calligraphic vocabulary of symbols ranging from sorrow to hope.
Michael Kirk is a romantic who transforms nature from descriptive to symbolic with visceral cathedral-like landscapes informed by intuitive impulse and a connection to the spirit of place. Traveling along the Hudson River, his plein air works in watercolor, pastel and charcoal become internalized in his studio. Though rendered in black and white, these visionary landscapes are reminiscent of the entangled grace of stained glass or the heavy meandering lines of Roualt. Embedded in Kirk’s obsessive delineations are images of shadowy remnants, memories caught in a web of branches. Reflecting the continued flux and loss within our dwindling natural resources, soaring trees and limitless views that once framed the Hudson are now framed by segments of memory and emotion within urban interiors.