Swimming in Light
The Nabi Gallery opened its new Chelsea space January 15, 2004, with an exhibit of landscapes by two Long Island artists, Elwood Howell and the late Newton Haydn Stubbing.
The Nabi moved into a 3,400-square-foot, three-level, storefront location, formerly a photographer’s studio, at 137 West 25th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues. Previously, from 1996 to 2002, the gallery operated in Sag Harbor, L.I.
The inaugural show, Swimming in Light, ran through February 28.
Newton Haydn Stubbing, or Tony Stubbing as he was known to friends, was a British-born artist who lived in Spain, France, and New York, and spent his last years—he died in 1983—in a house and studio in Sagaponack, L.I., still owned by his widow, the art critic Yvonne Hagen. His work is included in numerous collections, including those of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Lindisfarne Association in Scotland. The Nabi and England & Co. in London are the only private galleries where it can be seen.
The new show includes a selection of his later paintings, landscapes that distill a sense of place in a luminous, almost mystical style that borders on abstraction, as well as some more realistic sketches that he prepared as studies for the larger works. Among the most spectacular is an 11-foot-wide landscape painted in 1982. Titled Road to Burgos (Spain), it is the last work of such size the artist produced.
Elwood Howell shares with Stubbing a method that goes beyond realism but stops short of abstraction in rendering the spirit of the Long Island landscape and seascape. While Stubbing’s landscapes are almost always views of a specific place, Howell’s arise from his imagination, created in his basement studio, yet originate in a keen feeling for the particular qualities of light over sea and garden that characterize that area.