Friday we headed west on the turnpike mid-afternoon for a visit to Ned Wert's house and studio. With his latest exhibition, "Ned Wert well-seasoned" fast approaching, it was time to review the work and get to know one of my favorite people even better. This show will feature not only new work, but work from the last 50 years of Ned's prolific painting career - alongside a dedicated career teaching on the high school and university levels.
Across the Allegheny mountains on the turnpike, then heading north on route 56 from the Bedford exit, the land stretched before us, mostly brown and barren, the hope of spring occasionally showing itself, three and a half hours later, arriving at Ned's door. He greeted us with a big hug, the smell of dinner wafting thru the door, and invited us in by the fire for a glass of wine. After chatting a bit, we settled at his big oak table in the kitchen, every detail tended to with care, as is his ever-caring, comfortable manner. Dinner of chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto, fresh spring salad with grated Parmesan, and a french baguette was served by candlelight, bright orange tulips sitting sentry at the head of the table. Despite being fully sated, I couldn't turn down the offer of dessert, which was deliciously simple and a most fitting end to the meal - fresh, chilled green grapes with a sour cream and cinnamon drizzle on top.
Blossom Kent Series, number 1, 41" x 50" oil on canvas, 1970
We spent the next day reviewing new and old work, and choreographing the exhibition for the end of April at Lynden Gallery. With a catalogue in the works, I took every opportunity to learn more about where this gentle man has been, and what has influenced his work over the years. The language of his work hasn't changed, I noted, seeing an older work he completed one summer at Kent State in 1970, under the tutelage of modern masters, Jack Tworkov and Alex Katz. The expressionistic abstraction of his work simply gathering a bold confidence as the decades rolled by. We headed home, our small Saab packed to the brim with new paintings, my journal several pages full of dates, notes and comments, research books on Diebenkorn, Tworkov and Katz , and a prized stack of slide pages, 4" thick - images of work from 1967 to 1993.
Set the date aside - NED WERT well-seasoned, Friday, April 24th from 5:00 to 8:00 pm, at the Lynden Gallery. For more about Ned, click here