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(Speak Out) Review: "Impressions:
Paintings by Raymond J. Steiner"
June 14 –27, National Arts Club, NYC

ART TIMES Aug 2004

pine self portrait Raymond J. Steiner
Pine (Self Portrait)
8"x10" oil
AMERICAN LANDSCAPE PAINTING falls into many niches that artists visit on their way to a distinct style. Their development first of competence is of primary concern to many budding artists. Ray Steiner clearly understands this competence and the western language of landscape painting. Out of the nearly 100 images, several stand out as benchmarks for quality and unique vision. The Cliffs of Moher, an 8 x 16" oil on board, expresses a stony silence and entertains the viewer with a range of values from white through steely grays in a masterful manner. His organization of the surface and the rhyming of geometric shapes reflect Steiner’s knowledge of poetry.

The autumnal color of A View of the Baltic from Rügen is a welcome relief, a fresh yet simple canvas which moves far from the standard blue sky, green tree paintings that are so much a part of the American landscape tradition.

The poet/painter Steiner borrows from the literary device of personification in Pine Tree (Self-Portrait). It stops us and makes us look with more than a glance to enjoy the nobility, strength and soaring quality that Steiner executes with integrity and whimsy. Simple, straightforward appreciation of nature sums up this show. With a respect and a need to be part of a big American painting tradition unlike so much we see today, Steiner mocks no one, not even a pine tree.

(Author, award-winning painter, and faculty member of the Art Students League of New York, Timothy J. Clark was a founding faculty member and professor at the Coastline College in Fountain Valley, Ca., an instructor at The University of Hawaii, and at the school at the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts. He maintains studios in Capistrano Beach, CA and West Bath, Me.