We are very excited to showcase the most recent work of Viktor Butko and Sarah Lamb as we launch our high-season of 2020. We are now welcoming visitors to the gallery for the first time since mid-March, as New York moves to Phase 3 of re-opening the economy. For a sneak preview this week, please call us to set up a private appointment, which we will be scheduling from Thursday through Saturday. We simply require the basic precautions (mask, hand sanitizer; etc.) to keep the gallery safe for us and our other guests.
Viktor Butko (b. 1978, Moscow), in preparation for this major, high-season show, has been painting on the East End and around New England all year. He was also quarantined in Vermont, painting en plein air with fellow Grenning Gallery artists as the pandemic hit in March.
Throughout the year, Butko has deepened his inquiry into the tonal shifts of light at twilight, especially as seen through trees. "Over the Pond, Evening Light" is a mid-winter examination of that theme, where Butko deftly inserts a screen of verticals in the form of light-colored birch trees to offset vertical landscape beyond. The trees also frame sections of his background, highlighting elements that might otherwise be lost, like the shimmering water, effectively painted by this well trained yet contemporary impressionist.
Few may know that Viktor Butko is the third generation of highly respected painters from just outside of Moscow. In fact, Butko has been invited to show at the famous Moscow Union of Artists with up to 50 paintings tentatively planned on November 25th, 2020. It's an honor rarely afforded to a painter in their early 40s, and interestingly, this was the site of his grandfather's, Victor Chulovich (b.1922 - d.1994), major exhibit in the early 1950s. The exhibit dates may be changed due to Covid-related closures, however the initiation to show and what it confers about this fine young Russian painter stands.
This is a theme that he has been developing for years now, starting with "Deer Park Lane" (2018, sold), and continued with several others in this show, like "Cold Winds" (2020), or "Shelter Island Summer" (2019).
Unbeknownst to Butko, in "Red Door, Church" he is striking a bullseye in Sag Harbor's the contemporary art scene. Here he captures the early spring visage of The Sag Harbor Church, and exciting new arts center that Eric Fischl and April Gornik are building. Butko was drawn in by the aesthetics of the scene; the dramatic contrast of the red door against the white building, surrounded by the blue sky and green.
Through the lens of a global pandemic, and under quarantine on a painting sojourn with fellow painters, we are delighted to see this original and interesting composition of a Vermont Valley this past March. His training en plein air in Russia has deeply influenced other Grenning Gallery painters notably, Ben Fenske, Amy Florence, Tim McGuire and Kelly Carmody, all of whom were on this painting trip.
Sarah Lamb (b. 1972, Petersburg, VA) returns this year with wide ranging variety of her sought-after, poetic still-lifes. Lamb has been very busy with commissions, so if you are partial to one of her highly prized white floral still lifes, or perhaps a jambon and cheese set up...please let us know so we can get on her schedule!
Fresh from her studio, painted during the pandemic lock down, we see "Magnolia", a lovely medium sized white flower still life. Here we see Lamb's decisive compositional virtuosity, executed in rich tones and precise brush strokes. Masterful in every way, her still life paintings hum.
Lamb's rare use of this high key palate in "hand blown glass" still life is a lovely investigation into the cool and warm palette amongst these natural and neutral tones.
In "Pomegranate" Lamb's sets the table squarely in the center of the picture, and she offers a nod to the great American painter Emil Carlson (1853-1932) with her richly observed copper bowl. We are somehow brought into the 21st century with the subtle wide set vertical lines in the background and Lamb's quintessential overall lack of fussiness in the painting.
In "Lavender", we see her move forward with her more contemporary iconic composition - with almost simple color field transitions between the grey stone shelf and background, the light brown paper, and the interesting structural use of the lavender stalks.