When Home Won't Let You Stay
To an age which champions the bizarre and the anecdotal in visual art over the alluring and affective, the paintings of Carolyn Edlund may, upon first impression, seem something of an anachronism. The artist is equally at home in landscape and still life compositions and, whatever the subject, her paintings sing to us through their masterful use of glazing, their soft edges, their skillfully blended colors, their warm and directed light, their careful tonal transitions, and their fine studio finish. And beneath it all is the trained hand of a master draughtsman. It seems only natural that Poughkeepsie artist Carolyn Edlund would feel some kinship with the artistic tradition which took its name from the river near which she lives. Her picturesque landscapes, devoid of human habitation and bathed in a warm light which accents the perfect color harmonies seem, at first exposure, a paean to this tradition.
On continued viewing, however, we sense that the compositions are a bit too perfect, the colors too warm, and the light too focused to be renderings of real scenes. In their perfection, they speak to their own artificiality. The effect of a landscape like "Sonata" might be analogous to a nineteenth-century Luminist" landscape by, say, Fitz Henry Lane or Martin Johnson Heade: Time becomes frozen, nature static, and the scene becomes more a remembrance than a reality. The artist states: "I intend the stillness of my scenes to bring to mind times long past and the luminosity to suggest a slight enchantment…Yet, some find the scenes familiar - perhaps the backyard they grew up in, a road they once took, or a landscape more interior."
Indeed, many of her landscape compositions present the viewer a foreground road or path, inviting entrance into the scene. Yet, the paths disappear or terminate in a ridge or an obstruction beyond which we cannot see? As in our dreams and memories, we cannot progress beyond a certain familiarity. In an age when artists often need to distort, deface, or otherwise compromise the image to create a "signature," Ms. Edlund calls our attention away from the content and toward the artist by the very perfection of that content.
Edlund's work has been published in the American Arts Quarterly, American Artist, Country & Abroad, and Island Living (UK); and was selected for exhibition at the Salmagundi Club (NYC); at the Chianciano Art Museum for the Biennale Chianciano in Tuscany, Italy; Bienniale Internazionale Dell'Arte Contemporanea in Florence, Italy; and for inclusion in the MFHA Centennial Art Exhibition (nationwide tour). Her paintings and drawings have been represented in the United Kingdom, Chile, Italy, New York City, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, Florida, and Virginia. In October 2018 she was recipient of the Dutchess County Executive Arts Award for Individual Artist that recognizes an individual residing in Dutchess County [NY}, whose achievements in his/her discipline are widely recognized and who has demonstrated a compelling or unique artistic vision.
Sonata for Heartstrings
Under a Blue Moon
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