Read John Goodrich's review of William Christine's show at Prince Street Gallery published in NYC's City Arts Magaizine

Enraptured by Nature: William Christine: New Paintings
by John Goodrich on Dec 13, 2011 • 12:59 pm
More Sharing Services Share on email Share on print

William Christine’s paintings may not flirt with the cutting edge, but his landscapes at Prince Street Gallery impress for their sturdy pursuit of nature’s exuberance. Despite their brisk, brushy attack, simplified forms and vivid hues, his two dozen oil paintings and watercolors suggest an expressionism freed from any sort of indulgence, as if the artist were confident in his means and comfortable with following nature’s lead.

He should be. Christine is a fine colorist, with a particular gift for recreating the weight of descending sunlight: the flash of light across a field, the luminous fringe about a tree’s canopy. No less crucially, his drawing locates these episodes of color with aplomb. In a painting titled “Path” (2011), a single bush plants itself, small and dense beneath our point of view, as if condensed out of the surrounding shimmer of field. Above, framed by the verticals of two tree trunks, the sky becomes thick and charged. In “Blue, Green, Gold” (2011), a shadow across a field winds wildly into the distance, splitting it into receding glows of yellow and deep, absorbent green; above them, a ranging line of warmer greens—treetops—ambles to the same distant point. The character of every object unfolds, as with Bonnard, in its own distinct place and time.

At least some of the nine watercolors seem to be sketches for the paintings, but in their bold, high-contrast compositions they feel completely self-sufficient. Interestingly, most of the paintings lose not a whit of energy in the transposition from the airy medium of watercolor to the opacity of oil paint. A couple of the larger canvases seem slightly less fleet-footed—not quite so deft in the movements from place to place and in shifts of scale—but this is mainly in comparison to the more dynamic paintings alongside. Indeed, the large “Green Stripe” (2011) is one of the most vigorous works in the exhibition. Like the handful of foreground flowers and the distant clouds that bracket the scene, we’re rapt observers of the erupting foliage and streaming lawn in between. Seldom does nature’s revelry seem so self-possessed.

William Christine
Through Dec. 31, Prince Street Gallery, 530 W. 25th St., 646-230-0246,
Tags: galleries, gallery beat, John Goodrich, Prince Street Gallery, Visual Art, William Christine