• By Ruth Wolf

The Rustle of Shadow


Spring has arrived in Philadelphia and so has a new exhibition at Cerulean Arts. Fittingly, it is of landscapes by a perennial favorite, Jill Rupinski. Rupinki is a long-time faculty member and former chair-person of the Painting Department of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. So it seems fitting that this is an exhibition about the natural world plus about painting this world and the viewer’s experience of encountering the painting. “How?”, you might ask … The answer is right in front of our eyes in this body of work called Shifting Perception. Some examples:

In the namesake painting, Shifting Perception, thin strips of intense color - reds, oranges, gold - flame with light into cool blue, wet brushstrokes. Below a dark limb stretches into the evening across a field in shadow, into warm-browns, green, black. A shadow which contradicts its light source, emanates from the lower section of the picture plane. The shadow becomes a horse and rider—is this the artist?.

In Elusive Perception (Image on right-side of the exhibition's postcard above) what is described by brushstroke and painterly mark suggests a brooding silence, not ominous yet not totally inviting. There is a gate. Figuration is symbolic of a deeper meaning than just a dark shape to anchor the lower section of the picture plane. There is a sense of time and a sense of place - very specific, cared about and observed often - based on memory.

Of note is Jill’s facility in capturing light on the surface of water. The geometric plane shows perspective as well as reflection. Look at the painting Night Vision with the full moon reflected in a pool surrounded by a herd of horses. A study in reflected light, reflected mass and surface within a spiraling composition, while still conveying quietude. Similarly, Reflecting on Illusion breaks strong verticals with a swirling middle section. This scene could be overly sentimental, yet with its strong composition, restrained palette and sensitive tonalities it speaks to aesthetics rather than emotion.

These are beautiful, well-crafted and intelligent paintings. They are built directly on the surface, layering and manipulating the qualities of pastel both as a wet and a dry medium. There are many layers. The color field produced by the various surface textures is interesting and rewards close viewing.

Shifting Perception will be Cerulean Arts until April 20th. Jill Rupinski will be giving an Artist Talk on the exhibition on Saturday, April 13th at 1 pm. And she will also present a workshop on pastels on Saturday, April 6th. You can contact Cerulean to sign up for the workshop while the Artist Talk is free and open to the public. To see the artworks available on line go to https://ceruleanarts.com/pages/shifting-perception .

And in case you missed the very informative Artist's Talk by Jill at Cerulean Arts gallery, HERE IT IS!

And, here is my "One Minute Crit" of Jill Rupinski's artwork, Obscured View. Enjoy!

#CeruleanArts #JillRupinski #pastelpainting #landscapes #landscapeswithshadows #ShiftingPerception

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