Seymour Remenick Stuart Shils

pairings September 30 - October 17, 2009

Steven Harvey Fine Arts Projects, which began two years ago in Mr. Harvey’s apartment and has exhibited work in several spaces in the city, is the type of gallery—small, specialized and mobile—that we’ll probably be seeing more of in the coming years. Mr. Harvey, formerly a director at the Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, is building a stable of living artists and artists’ estates, many of them not household names. He is approaching gallery directing as a hands-on labor of love.

One of his current projects is a two-person exhibition of small plein-air landscapes by the relatively unknown Seymour Remenick (1923-1999) and his well-known student Stuart Shils (b. 1954). Most were painted in and around Philadelphia, sometimes side by side. Mr. Shils is represented here with paintings from the 1980s through 2009. His mature works—the pared-down landscapes built up out of broad planes of impastoed color—have always struck me as a little vague and impersonal. But Mr. Shils’s roots are in Remenick, and his most satisfying paintings are earlier. The best of them, including the charming “River with Old Shipping Docks” (c. 1988), exude a sweet light and an economy reminiscent of Albert Marquet’s water views. Remenick—with landscapes from the 1950s through the 1980s, on view here—steals the show. He channels qualities of Corot, Constable and the Dutch masters in a brushy, old-world, oil-sketch approach to nature that is uniquely, genuinely Romantic.