Tag Archives: Hope Gangloff

New York On Viewing

Freelancers & Farm Animals

Lydia by Hope Gangloff

Lydia by Hope Gangloff by Hope Gangloff

I have not posted here for almost two months. This has not been for a lack of art viewing, but perhaps the opposite: the sheer volume of visual information I ingested in New York temporarily overwhelmed my mind’s receptors. I was exposed to a whole mess of contemplative puzzles that are still milling around my brain, waiting to be carefully extracted and examined. So while my analytic brain is recovering, I want to joyously wallow in the sensory pleasure of some pretty and brooding paintings.

That is not to say that Hope Gangloff‘s paintings are unintelligent–they are eloquent and articulate portraits of not just the individuals they portray but of a particular slice of life in the northeast that is furnished with outdoor showers and Adirondack chairs, and populated by freelancers and farm animals–but unlike much contemporary art, they require no further narrative or explanation. The pleasure in these paintings is immediate and unfolding.

Study of Olga Alexandrovskaya by Hope Gangloff

Study of Olga Alexandrovskaya by Hope Gangloff

Hope’s paintings are a little too hip–her subjects are beautiful thirty-somethings, living in rustic Americana, surrounded by delicate patterns and vintage clothing–but I don’t begrudge them that. The paint sings and pulses on her canvases. She creates whole individuals, teasing out their quirks and their inner life, noticing the little details that make a moment or a person specific.

According to the New York Times article, Why Music Makes Our Brain Sing, when listening to music our brain anticipates chords and climaxes based on our previous musical experiences. This sense of anticipation adds to the pleasure of listening, and our brain rewards us further for recognizing patterns and making accurate predictions. Is a similar mechanism at play when we view paintings…Is the brain rewarding us for successfully building a cohesive image out of a field of abstracts dabs? Is our mind so in love with patterns that the mere presence of a well painted stripped skirt sets off reward systems? I imagine that there must be an evolutionary advantage to being able to look at a human and hypothesize on their interior state of being, but why the hypnotic pleasure of staring at blue and pink snow?

I will research the neuroscience of  visual pleasure another day. For now, I just want to enjoy it.

May-December Romance

May-December Romance by Hope Gangloff