In the galleries: A dynamic stream of visuals and concepts

By Danilo Ezequiel Carando, CNN Week

Updated 02:22 Am December 30, 2023

. Keiffer's paintings capture the tranquility of nature and urban settings alike, with a focus on capturing the essence of a scene rather than strict realism.
In "As Far As One Can See," Keiffer showcases his talent for depicting pastoral landscapes. These paintings transport viewers to serene natural settings, where they can almost feel the gentle breeze and hear the rustling of leaves. The artist's attention to detail is evident in the way he captures the play of light and shadow, creating a sense of depth and atmosphere.
While Keiffer's landscapes dominate the exhibition, there are also a few paintings that depict street scenes in New York City. However, even in these urban settings, Keiffer's emphasis is on stillness and quietude rather than the hustle and bustle typically associated with city life. He captures moments of tranquility amidst the chaos, inviting viewers to pause and appreciate the beauty that can be found in unexpected places.
Overall, Keiffer's show at Gallery Neptune & Brown invites viewers to immerse themselves in his peaceful and contemplative world. Through his realist style and careful attention to detail, he creates a sense of calm and serenity that resonates with viewers long after they leave the gallery.
The most dynamic painting in Joseph Keiffer's exhibition at Gallery Neptune & Brown is a still life of enamelware. The objects in the painting, such as a cup, ladle, and spoon, appear to be floating downwards through space towards stacks of similar containers. This composition creates a sense of motion that contrasts with the other paintings in the exhibition.

Keiffer's goal to capture and interrupt the passage of time is evident in all of his work, but it is particularly striking in this still life. The painting celebrates motion while also freezing it in time.

Although trained as an abstractionist, Keiffer shifted his focus to the Hudson River School style, which was popular in the 19th century. His landscapes are not as grand as those of his predecessors but are equally luminous. For example, "Winter's Eve" depicts a low-on-the-horizon sunset reflected in a meandering stream. The moment captured in the painting is calm, but the lighting adds a dramatic touch.

Leanne Fink, another landscape painter, showcases both local and more epic scenery in her exhibition at the Athenaeum. While she often portrays places near her Northern Virginia home, she also includes views of parks in the Western United States. The show's title, "National Treasures," reflects the range of subjects she explores.

Fink's paintings have a less classical style compared to Keiffer's work, but they employ similar compositional techniques. Water is a recurring element in her pictures, often serving as a focal point. Rivers and streams curve through the predominantly horizontal panoramas, while vertical formats are used for waterfalls, geysers, and canyons.

Fink's style is well-suited for capturing landmarks like Bryce Canyon, as she closely arranges contrasting hues to mimic multicolored rock formations. She utilizes a technique that combines oil pigments with cold wax to add depth and texture to her paintings. Additionally, she outlines some of the forms, giving the works a drawing-like quality. This approach creates an intimate atmosphere, regardless of whether the subject is mundane or grand.

Both Joseph Keiffer's exhibition at Gallery Neptune & Brown and Leanne Fink's exhibition at the Athenaeum offer captivating depictions of landscapes, showcasing the artists' unique styles and approaches to capturing motion and stillness in their work.

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