Originally uploaded by rob helpychalk.
As some of you may know, we run a small arts academy out of our house, the North Country Academy for the Excruciatingly Fine Arts. (Motto: Sarma eike kexumenon 'o kallistos kosmos.) I have been archiving some of the work this school has produced, though unfortunately not in a very scholarly or rigorous fashion. I haven’t been dating things, and I have focused mostly on the work of a single artist, even though the mutual influences among the school are clear and fascinating.
The above piece, Caroline Loftis untitled (Watercolor on paper, Summer 2005), is an example of the incredible artistry that first drew me to the work of this school. It follows in the tradition of monochromatic canvasses from abstract expressionists like Ad Reinhardt. But look at the dramatic brush strokes, harkening all the way back to Van Gogh! The swirling purples create an absorbing, unearthly landscape.
This C. Loftis used monochromatic technique for most of the summer of 2005—that is the main way I can date the work. She learned the technique from Xiomara Oey-Langen, a colleague at the North Country Academy for the Excruciatingly Fine Arts. For a while, in fact, no one at the North Country Academy could step away from a work until it was completely filled in. I do not believe I have any of the original X. Oey-Langen pieces that inspired this movement achieved, although some may still be in the possession of the Oey-Langen family.