Robert Philipp was—and this may be a defining characteristic of many League instructors—an iconoclastic traditionalist, well enough versed in the conventions of art to take them as a point of departure.
George B. Bridgman was the preeminent instructor of figure drawing in this country during the first half of the twentieth century and is credited with having taught close to 70,000 students, from illustrators to the avant-garde. What makes his lessons so enduring?
Art in general isn’t nearly as fun or powerful in this age. You could say there’s a positive side to all the access we have to art, as well as the exposure, as artists, we can get outside of the traditional structures. But I wonder if it’s worth what we gave up. Too much art exposure can bore a person. You can also become impervious to the effects that art can have on us.
For a very long time I thought art was all about esthetics, beauty, grace. I did not look at other dimensions, such as distortions, unbalance, pain, darkness. Now I try to reach both, very much like in nature, there is life and death.
The question that seems to be posed in this exhibition is whether the Lyme Art Colony’s interest in landscape, light, and color can be enjoyed at face value, or is complicit in whitewashing the area’s history.
People will always need something created by the hand of an individual, which no one else can do and which offers a unique experience when one is actually in front of it. So a work of art becomes more special, more necessary as so much else is turned into a few gigabytes flashing across a screen.