An extraordinary exhibition of jewel-like paintings by Monica Miller currently fills the Joyce Goldstein Gallery in Chatham, a clean, well-lit, extremely small space on Main Street. Though the gallery has been there for five years, having moved up from SoHo, I confess it's the first time I've seen it, an oversight for which I have no excuse.
I'm thankful Miller's stunning new work brought me and a devoted following to her opening a couple of weeks ago on a hot Saturday when a drive in the country was just what the doctor ordered. At the end of that drive, cool, fresh paintings awaited. Fresh, because it's the first time Miller has worked in oils since the 1970s (her more than 30-year career has concentrated on watercolors and film animation); cool, because her subject is the Kinderhook Creek in all seasons, including some dazzlingly white winter scenarios.
Scenarios, not scenes - these are landscapes, but not quite in the traditional sense. Miller has departed from her former techniques, but her psychedelic tendencies remain. In these paintings, some of which could reasonably be termed surrealistic, while others veer toward the abstract, Miller engages in a conversation with the water of the creek and the land it courses through. Trees, rocks, and skies - even insects - make their appearances, but they wouldn't be there if not for the water.
And, oh, how Miller paints the water! It swirls, shimmers and shines ... it flows silently under the cover of dusk ... it freezes and refracts into rainbow colors ... it threatens to rearrange the landscape. All this and more comes across in elaborately detailed paintings brushed onto old boards not more than 12 by 15 inches in size.
Tiny paintings in a tiny gallery can have a big impact. Go and immerse yourself.
The Joyce Goldstein Gallery is open from 12-5 Thursday-Saturday, 12-3 Sunday. Monica Miller's show, titled Diary of a Trespasser, hangs through July 31. For more information, call 518-392-2250.