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The Nature of Reflection New Work by Jim Schantz Pucker Gallery • Boston 14


Vermont Winter Trees Pastel 30 x 44" JMS665

Cover Image: Late Summer Reflection Oil on panel 48 x 48" JMS674


The Nature of Reflection New Work by Jim Schantz

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ature’s constancy is a comforting salve in a perpetually shifting material world of cultural change, technological and industrial development, and political turbulence. Change in nature is gradual, shifting imperceptibly until hundreds of years pass and differences are visible, while the world of man has changed dramatically manifold times. Nature affords us a longer view of the universe, where we contemplate the meaningful questions of existence and lose our tight grip on the vagaries of daily life. Nature’s tranquil presence quiets our outward-looking, busy minds in favor of self-reflection and in turn, nature reflects our moods. Like us, nature can be bright and cheery, or angry and brooding. Like us, she can feel youthful and spry, or tired and aged. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his essay Nature (1836), “not the sun or the summer alone, but every hour and season yields its tribute of delight; for every hour and change corresponds to and authorizes a different state of mind, from breathless noon to grimmest midnight.” Those who have followed Berkshire-based painter Jim Schantz for the past thirty years will notice that this recent

body of work is itself an exercise in self-reflection. Some works are quintessential Schantz, some reflect his push in new directions, while still others evoke an earlier style. Though he has always been inspired by nature’s beauty, he has of late become even more drawn to its cosmic quality— its ability to hold a mirror to the human experience beyond the limits of a specific place or time. Tending toward the Romantic glorification of nature’s magnificence over a need to impose order and rationality on her, Schantz’s newest works feel more intense and direct but never cross the threshold into turbulent or melancholic. Schantz has energized his palette and his brushstrokes but retains his ultimate optimism and is, as always, a champion of nature’s restorative capacity. Still present are the horizontal riverside reflections such as September Sundown Reflection (JMS657), in which layered and diffuse colors deftly express autumn’s warmth. The intense oranges and reds fluoresce from behind the trees and under the water, while the intense green leaves cling to the last vestiges of summer. Visit a tree-lined riv-

Post Storm Sunset Pastel 16 x 48 ¼" JMS663

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September Sundown Reflection Oil on panel 48 x 48" JMS657

er or lake at sunset, and you will feel as if you inhabit one of Schantz’s paintings, his ability to capture the look and feel is so masterful. The composition’s symmetry, typical of Schantz’s work, simultaneously evokes a sense of balance while creating an ever-diminishing and infinite focal point. Schantz also continues to be an expert at evoking the feeling of the seasons, as in Green River, Morning (JMS668), whose symphony of mellifluous greens is so suggestive one can almost smell the dew. In other cases, Schantz has moved away from strict realism, coaxing beauty out of the underlying abstract qualities of color, shape and light in nature while preserving some of the representational style that has traditionally charac-

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terized his work. Schantz is using fewer photographic references to compose his canvases; instead pictures serve as points of departure, calling on his memory, suffusing works with a more subjective quality.Working with oils on canvas is more deliberate than drawing with pastel, and the medium lends itself better to abstract explorations. Schantz creates movement within stillness through varying brushstrokes and shapes, juxtaposing horizontals with verticals, allowing the sky to ripple in a circular motion around the sun or moon, or evoking wind with swaying branches and undulating lines. The bottom and top registers of Atlantic Storm Study (JMS678) use the same vivid blue palette, but are separated by the horizon’s narrow rosy blush, and dif-


ferentiated by the fact that the long brushstrokes of the water sweep from one edge of the canvas to the other, while the short brushstrokes of the sky breezily swirl around. This, and the pastel sky piece, Post Storm Sunset (JMS663), are reminiscent of another line from Emerson’s Nature, when he comments that “the western clouds divided and subdivided themselves into pink flakes modulated with tints of unspeakable softness; and the air had so much life and sweetness, that it was a pain to come within doors.” As part of his shift toward abstraction, Schantz focuses several works on sky imagery alone. Known for his strong interest in the river and water (a theme he continues to use and still feels adeptly conveys nature’s universality), he states that “the sky can take us out of the realm of a fixed location and I like the ideal aspect of this subject.” The sky is a metaphorical seat of repose for many religions, whether it is called Heaven, Paradise or Nirvana, and in its ultimate mysteriousness it is egalitarian and universal. In Blue Mountain Sunset Study (JMS676) we see what Shakespeare’s Hamlet referred to as “this majestical roof, fretted with golden fire,” as sweeping orange and yellow bands radiate into blue and violet spans, finishing in a clear aqua expanse. In some cases, Schantz has returned to an earlier motif where the sky is punctuated by the extending tentacles of bare tree branches, as in Vermont Winter Trees (JMS665). The soft and hazy violet sky and gentle cloud formations con-

trast sharply with the precise tree branches. Schantz had moved away from this style in favor of more sweeping landscapes but has of late returned to the challenge of doing detailed work in pastel, reveling in the tension that is created between the diaphanous background and the object in focus. Though seemingly austere, there is musicality to the composition, and the figural branches seem to engage in an energetic dance. Listening to Claude Debussy as he works, Schantz channels the composer’s sensory sound, and the contrast of the sky and tree in this painting reflects elements of Debussy’s signature stark style. In this body of work, Jim Schantz culls reflectively from his thirty-year career, melding different media and balancing his traditional landscapes with fresh compositions—all in homage to his steadfast muse. Nature has always been a foil that reverberates with the artist’s moods and life experiences. Emerson wrote in Nature that “in the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.” As viewers before Jim Schantz’s work, we see not only the trajectory of the artist’s oeuvre but impressions from our own lives, and we are given a quiet place in which to contemplate, relax and reflect.

—Jeanne V. Koles, September 2011 Jeanne Koles is an independent consultant who does writing, design, and project management for museums and the cultural sector in New England.

Blue Mountain Sunset Study Oil on panel 17 ¾ x 23 ¾" JMS676

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Green River, Morning Pastel 44 ¾ x 30 ½" JMS668

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Summer River,Twilight Oil on panel 20 x 72" JMS671

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Atlantic Storm Study Oil on panel 16 x 16" JMS678

Storm Skyscape Study Oil on canvas 10 x 20" JMS672

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Winter Tree,Vertical Pastel 44 x 30" JMS664

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Housatonic August Sunset Oil on panel 12 x 24" JMS680

Winter Pines, Sunset Pastel 21 x 48" JMS669

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Tiepolo Sunset Oil on canvas 48 x 48" JMS670

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Full Moon River Pastel 38 x 30 ½" JMS666

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Twilight Crescent Reflection (Housatonic Series) Oil on canvas 24 x 24" JMS659

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Summer River, Dusk Pastel 38 Âź x 25" JMS667

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Halfmoon Reflection Oil on canvas 12 x 12" JMS654

Summer Dawn Oil on canvas 6 x 12" JMS658

Spring Twilight Crescent Oil on canvas 20 x 10" JMS673

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Autumnal Reflection Oil on canvas 20 x 20" JMS677

Moonlight Study Oil on panel 8 x 8" JMS660

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Autumn River, Sunset Oil on canvas 12 x 12" JMS661


Jim Schantz Biography 1955 Born in Perth Amboy, NJ

Education 1981 1980

MFA, University of California, Davis, CA Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME

1978 1977 1975-1976

Brooklyn Museum School, Brooklyn, NY BFA, magna cum laude, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY Hornsey School of Art, London, England

Teaching 2007-2008 2006 1992-2007 1992-1994 1991 1987 1982-1998 1981-1982

Learning Leader Volunteer, Brandeis High School, New York, NY Visiting Lecturer, Kaye College, Beersheba, Israel Interlaken School of Art, Stockbridge, MA Westfield State College, Westfield, MA Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Great Barrington, MA Russell Sage College, Albany, NY Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield, MA Assistant Professor, California State College, Stanislaus, Turlock, CA

Grants and Awards Finalist, Massachusetts Council of the Arts Fellowship Artist in Residence Grant, Massachusetts Cultural Council Research Fellowship, University of California, Davis, CA Teaching Fellowship, University of California, Davis, CA Skowhegan Scholarship, Skowhegan School of Art, Skowhegan, ME Ford Foundation Grant, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY Roswell G. Hill Award for Excellence in Painting, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY Foreign Study Scholarship, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

Selected Exhibitions 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2004

Pucker Gallery, Boston, MA Harrison Gallery, Williamstown, MA Pucker Gallery, Boston, MA Pamatnik Terezin, Czech Republic Sanford Smith Gallery, Great Barrington, MA Argazzi Fine Art, Lakeville, CT Pucker Gallery, Boston, MA Cavalier Gallery, New York, NY Banff Art Center, Leighton Studio, Banff, Alberta, Canada Harrison Gallery, Williamstown, MA Pucker Gallery, Boston, MA Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA Harrison Gallery, Williamstown, MA John Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA Pucker Gallery, Boston, MA

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Harrison Gallery, Williamstown, MA New Arts Gallery, Litchfield, CT 2002 Pucker Gallery, Boston, MA 2001 Harrison Gallery, Williamstown, MA Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA 2000 Pucker Gallery, Boston, MA 1999 Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY New Arts Gallery, Litchfield, CT 1998 Pucker Gallery, Boston, MA 1997 Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA Holsten Galleries, Stockbridge, MA Simon Gallery, Morristown, NJ Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA 1996 Berkshire Gallery, Great Barrington, MA Bridgewater/Lustberg Gallery, New York, NY Rosenfield Gallery, Philadelphia, PA 1995 Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA Pucker Gallery, Boston, MA Schenectady Art Museum, Schenectady, NY Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA 1994 Holsten Galleries, Stockbridge, MA Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA 1993 Arno Maris Gallery, Westfield State College, Westfield, MA Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA Pucker Gallery, Boston, MA 1992 Heritage State Park Museum, Holyoke, MA Holsten Galleries, Stockbridge, MA Pucker Gallery, Boston, MA 1991 Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA Holsten Galleries, Stockbridge, MA Pucker Safrai Gallery, Boston, MA Teikyo Post University, Waterbury, CT 1990 Pucker Safrai Gallery, Boston, MA Rice Gallery, Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY 1989 Frank Bernaducci Gallery, New York, NY Pucker Safrai Gallery, Boston, MA Rice Gallery, Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY 1988 Pucker Safrai Gallery, Boston, MA Simon’s Rock College, Great Barrington, MA 1987 Holsten Galleries, Stockbridge, MA Rice Gallery, Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY Worcester Polytechnical Institute, Worcester, MA 1986 Ruth Siegel Gallery, New York, NY 1985 Clark-Whitney Gallery, Lenox, MA Westenhook Gallery, Sheffield, MA 1984 Stockbridge Gallery, Stockbridge, MA 1983 Adam L. Gimbel Gallery, New York, NY Haber-Theodore Gallery, New York, NY 1982 California State College, Stanislaus, Turlock, CA Dana Reich Gallery, San Francisco, CA 1981 Gorman Museum, University of California, Davis, CA 1978 Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY

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Biography continued

Selected Public Collections

Projects and Collaborations

Art Complex Museum, Duxbury, MA Children’s Hospital, Chicago, IL The Boston Company, Boston, MA Citizen’s Bank, Boston, MA Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline, MA Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA Everett Jewish Life Center, Chautauqua, NY Fidelity Investments Corporation, Boston, MA First Albany Corporation, Albany, NY Fleet Bank, Western Massachusetts, Springfield, MA The Jerusalem Foundation, New York, NY Lowe Art Museum, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY Memorial Library, University of California, Davis, CA Mount Saint Benedict Priory, Erie, PA Nelson Museum, University of California, Davis, CA Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA Pamatnik, Terezin, Czech Republic Post University, Waterbury, CT Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA Schick Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY Simon’s Rock of Bard College, Great Barrington, MA Tufts University, Medford, MA University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA Williams College Museum, Williamstown, MA

Hawthorne String Quartet, music and art collaboration, Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood, Stockbridge, MA, August 2009 Hawthorne String Quartet, music and art collaboration, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, March 2008 Hawthorne String Quartet, music and art collaboration, U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, Prague, Czech Republic, September 2007 Places of the Spirit:The Holy Land, CD collaboration with flutist Paula Robison to benefit the Jerusalem Foundation, Spring 2007 Hawthorne String Quartet, music and art collaboration, Gasson Hall, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, April 2007 Hawthorne String Quartet, music and art collaboration, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Great Barrington, MA, March 2006 Places of the Spirit, CD collaboration with flutist Paula Robison to benefit the Camphill Foundation, Spring 2003

In appreciation I would like to thank Bernie and Sue Pucker for all their support and encouragement. This year marks the 25th anniversary of our special relationship. Throughout the years the Puckers have shown a rare commitment not only to the arts, but have set the example of helping others in all aspects of life. I feel very fortunate and honored to have the opportunity to know Bernie and Sue and be represented by their gallery. Thank you to Liz Burgess and the staff of Pucker Gallery for all their excellent work. Special thanks to Justine Choi for facilitating the production of this catalogue and exhibition and to Jeanne Koles for her thoughtful essay. Finally, thank you to my wife Kim and our ever growing family for all their love, creativity and inspiration.

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Blue Mountain Sunset Oil on canvas 26 x 72" JMS675

Credits: Design: Leslie Anne Feagley Editors: Justine H. Choi and Mari Silipo Photography: Cassandra Sohn and Keith McWilliams Š 2012, Pucker Gallery Printed in China by Cross Blue Overseas Printing Company

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Pucker Gallery 171 Newbury Street • Boston, MA 02116 Phone: 617.267.9473 • Fax: 617.424.9759 E-mail: contactus@puckergallery.com To view this catalogue and other Gallery publications and to experience an audio tour of the exhibition, please visit www.puckergallery.com. Gallery Hours: Monday through Saturday 10:00 am to 5:30 pm Sunday 10:30 am to 5:00 pm We offer one free hour of validated parking at the 200 Newbury Street Garage. The garage driving entrance is located on Exeter Street between Newbury and Boylston Streets. The nearest MBTA stop is Copley Station on the Green line. Pucker Gallery is a member of the Boston Art Dealers’ Association and the New England Appraisers Association.

Change Services Requested.

The Nature of Reflection New Work by Jim Schantz Dates: 4 February to 26 March 2012 Opening Reception: 4 February 2012, 3:00 to 6:00 pm The public is invited to attend. The artist will be present.

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After the Storm Oil on canvas 30 x 72” JMS679

Nature of Reflection  

New Work by Jim Schantz

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