Treedom: Ron Milewicz at the New York Studio School

Ron Milewicz, Maple and Cedar, 2017, pencil on paper, 12 x 18 inches

The title of Ron Milewicz’s elegant show “Light Takes the Tree” reveals a painterly proclivity. Heinrich Wolfflin’s term “painterly” describes the foregoing of “tangible design” for luminous merging of outlines and volumes, toward limitlessness. 1 Landscape moves easily in that direction—its individual aspects assembling exponentially into an indiscernible whole. Its parts in a work of art are bound by the artist’s compositional gestalt.

Milewicz’s ordered visions pace the viewer deliberately through clear ranges of space. In “Sugar Maple 2” the central tree holds as the eye weaves between trees struck by sunlight on the left, and shaded ones retreating on the right. Complex yet discreet configurations of figure and ground, activated by erasure of sky, play across the picture plane, as well as from top to solid shadow at the bottom. Balance is furthered by a tree at the opposite edge, and movement is anchored. Stillness prevails, the way actual scenes seem to suspend themselves before our gazes.

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