Writing From Art

Writing from Art, a popular program for five years, continues this Summer! Co-sponsored by the Hudson Valley Writers Guild and the Albany Institute of History and Art, the paintings of Albany native Stephen Hannock are featured, winner of an Academy Award and one of the country’s foremost neo-romantic painters. There are two opportunities before the writing workshop to meet the artist and preview his work at receptions hosted by the Albany Institute of History and Art.

Opening Reception:  Thursday, June 21, 5:30 – 7:30 FREE 
Artist Talk and Reception:  Thursday, July 19,  5:30 – 7:30  FREE 
Open Mic Afterwards:  Walk up the street afterwards to Third Thursday Poetry Night, an Open Mic hosted by Dan Wilcox and Poetry Motel Foundation at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave.

The workshop, Writing from Art is for writers of all genres and levels will take place Thursday, August  9   Time:  2-4 pm. This program is inspired by the exhibition Luminosity: The Paintings of Stephen Hannock at The Albany Institute of History and Art, 125 Washington Avenue, Albany. 

Bring your creativity.  We’ll provide the inspiration! The Institute’s Education Director Erika Sanger will lead a discussion of the artist’s landscapes, self-portraits, and paintings embedded with words. She will be followed by a multi-genre writing session with award winning local poet and writing instructor, Therese Broderick.   Workshop $15 members of the Institute or Guild; $20 non-members

The Albany Institute of History & Art will open the new exhibition LUMINOSITY: Paintings by Stephen Hannock, on Saturday, June 16. The exhibition will showcase 20 paintings by, Stephen Hannock, including self-portraits, landscapes and four major works described by the artist as “Vistas with Text”. The exhibition also includes sketchbooks, photographs and two short films related to Hannock’s work. The opening reception for LUMINOSITY will be held on Thursday, June 21 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm during the June Third Thursday program. 

One of the country’s foremost neo-romantic painters, Hannock was born and raised in Albany, and attended the Albany Academy.  His paintings are multi layered in technique and meaning.   In his more recent larger paintings, which the artist refers to as “Vistas with Text”, Hannock includes written commentaries or diaries embedded in the painting.    Hannock describes these paintings “as woven fabrics of light combined with the recounting of anecdotes of people’s adventures celebrating the history of the times.” In 1998 Hannock won the Academy Award for “Special Effects” in the motion picture, What Dreams May Come.   For the film, Hannock created more than 100 paintings that were used by the special effects team to create computer-generated images of heaven and hell.

Recognizing Hannock’s interest in Hudson River School artists Thomas Cole and Frederic Church, John Kensett, and George Inness, the Albany Institute is installing its collection of Hudson River School paintings in the adjacent galleries.  Hannock studied art at Smith College with Leonard Baskin (with whom he apprenticed with from 1972-75), and received his B.A. from Hampshire College. In the beginning of his artistic career, Hannock experimented with Day-Glo paints, which required dark rooms and black lights to bring out the colors. He then began to experiment with phosphorous paints on canvas with external black lighting, and exhibited two paintings at the Albany Institute in 1982.  Hannock’s style of painting was changed by an accident in the early 1980s, when he attempted to remove a sky on a canvas with an electric sander. The result of the rough treatment to the canvas had a surprising effect on the quality of light emanating from the work. The surface of the painting glowed with an inherent luminosity and soon became the artist’s trademark style.

To achieve a luminous look, Hannock has mastered and manipulated the use of electric sanders to polish in between the many layers of oil paint and resin to create a smooth surface infused with light and depth. Hannock’s work is represented in many private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the National Museum of American Art, Washington D.C; Smith College Museum of Art, Worcester Art Museum, MA; Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX; and the Albany Institute of History & Art.   Several examples of Hannock’s Hudson River work will also be on view during the summer at Olana State Historic Site in Hudson, New York and the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA. Hannock divides his time between his studios in Williamstown, MA and New York City.

LUMINOSITY: Paintings by Stephen Hannock will be on display from Saturday, June 16 through Sunday, September 2. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, June 21 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm during the Albany Institute’s monthly Third Thursday Program