"Artist and His Work" opens at Longyear
Opening this week at Margaretville’s Longyear Gallery is “The Artist and His Work: A ‘Not Quite’ Retrospective” featuring the paintings of local artist John Hopkins. The Artist’s Reception will take place Saturday, Aug. 29, from 4 to 7 p.m.
The works on display, mostly acrylic paintings, reach back to Hopkins’ paintings done in the early 1960s, then fast forward 20 years to include more representative paintings from the 1980s and ’90s as well as new and recent work. Having grown up in Roxbury. Hopkins left the area as a young man only to move back to Andes in 1980, where he has lived ever since. His work has appeared in numerous solo, two- to four-person, and group shows, most recently at the Woodstock Artists Association and at Delhi Art and Antiques.
As a child growing up in Roxbury, Hopkins was influenced primarily by nature, the Catskill landscape, and his parents. Not only was his mother an art teacher but his father was also a landscape painter by avocation. After being heavily influenced in art school by Peter Busa, an abstract expressionist and “a fine teacher,” Hopkins went on to receive a Diploma in Painting at the Swain School of Design and a BFA degree from Boston University School of Fine Arts. “A new world opened when I went to art school and discovered the abstract expressionists, the Tenth Street crowd, and the New York City scene, and, like most of my peers, I became caught up in the ’60s passion for the big idea and the search for better answers,” Hopkins confesses, yet “it was only a number of years later that I realized my passions about big ideas were artificial, based on other people's experience, not my own; as a result, the work I was producing at that time was also artificial.”
Subsequently, after a 20-year hiatus from painting, Hopkins eventually returned to his work as a landscape artist following his move to Andes. However, only after a serious illness in 1991 and a difficult bout with cancer in 2001 did his search for his own voice finally “became coherent and express what I was looking for,” he reveals, now focusing “on a personal imagery that speaks more of my feelings and internal realities than the object.” As Hopkins candidly explains, “At first, I was faced with a great deal of anger and then just a passion for expressing my connection to the environment. And so my work is in a real sense about the smell of moist earth in early spring, clean air after a rain, summer sun on my back, the odor of leaves crunching beneath my feet on a fall day--those almost primal connections we have with the earth.’”
John Hopkins’ show “The Artist and His Work” will be on display through September 20, accompanied by a group show of works by Longyear member artists. Longyear Gallery is located Upstairs at The Commons, 785 Main Street, Margaretville. For information, please call 845 586-3270.