Diane Drescher has been painting the landscape in New York City since 2010. In the past year she turned her attention to the unique nature and culture of the American Southwest. Her new paintings, a result of two recent trips to New Mexico, are featured in her third show at Bowery Gallery, Oct. 2- Oct. 27, 2018.
There is a long history of artists going to New Mexico to experience the large forms and it’s vast space. It is exhilarating and liberating and yet frustratingly difficult to paint. Many artists who paint the southwest landscape develop a somewhat idiosyncratic painting language due to the extremes of the geography and ever changing quality of the light.
Marsden Hartley, Magic Mountain
Here one senses the organic nature of the old adobe buildings: they literally rise out of the dirt they are standing on. For a painter there is a union of structure and setting like no other: forms and planes seem to merge so that the real drama of the painting often inevitably shifts to the sky and clouds.
O’ Keefe, Ranchos Church
Georgia O’Keefe’s New Mexico paintings have become iconic images. Her way of working was to return over and over again to the same motif until it was “hers”. She painted Pedernal over 30 times. “It’s my private mountain,” she once said. ‘It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it.’”
View of Pedernal #2, 12 x 16 inches
Drescher painted the view of Pedernal at Ghost Ranch and she painted at Rancho de Taos church, but finally found her own motif in Pecos National Historic Park. It is a high plateau surrounded by mountains with the remains of a Spanish Mission church from the 1600’s and Pecos Pueblo. (The only remnants of the pueblo are the foundation and walls). Most of the paintings in the Bowery show were painted at this site.
Pecos ruins after Corot, 14 x 18 inches
Ruins First Day, 12 x 16 inches
Ruins on Cloudy Day, 14 x 18 inches
In a compilation of essays called, “The Spell of New Mexico” (edited by Tony Hillerman), Lawrence Clark Powell offers this advice to writers exploring the southwest: “Seek essences, enduring things, touchstones and symbols; try to recreate in prose what makes this country so increasingly meaningful and necessary to one. Altitude, distance, color, configuration, history, and culture- in them dwell the essential things, but they must be extracted”.….
For Drescher, coming upon a place like Peco Ruins was to come upon “essence” as Powell describes it. She painted the ruins at different times of the day, always capturing the light and shadow and the mysterious forms. The paintings have been described as “quietly radient”.
Monolith Ruins, 18 x 22 inches
The paintings in this show were all painted on site except for a few larger pieces which were executed in the NY Studio from on-site sketches. Drescher says, “All experience of being in the Southwest desert came back with me to NY. When I was painting in my studio I recalled the feeling of light that day, the curve of the hills, the space behind and in front of MY monument. It was/ is about being true to the experience of the observation”.
Early Morning at the Ruins, 10 ½” x 13 ½”
Born in Wisconsin, Diane Drescher is a New York City – based artist and has had two solo shows at Bowery Gallery ( 2012, 2015). To view samples of her work, visit her web site: www.dianedrescher.com
To read more about Pecos Notional Historic park, here is a link;
Diane Drescher – New Paintings/ New Mexico
Oct. 2- Oct. 27, 2018
Opening Reception: Thurs. October 4, 5 – 8 PM
530 West 25th street, 4th floor
NY, NY 10001