Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Art · Russell Chatham
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Russell Chatham

Glen D. Young - January 28th, 2008
Artist Russell Chatham may not have been able to attend the opening gala for his retrospective exhibition in Traverse City, but 23 of his most notable paintings certainly showed up. The paintings represent the collection of Ann Arbor area health care executive Randall Pittman and his wife Mary.
Gene Jenneman, director of the
Dennos Museum Center, where the paintings are featured, credits Harry and Piper Goldson with securing the display. The Goldsons, owners of Suttons Bay
Galleries, have worked with both
Chatham and Pittman for the past dozen years to build the collection.
For a long time, “Russell was the only living painter we carried,” Goldson says. She is clear about the reason: “Chatham is the best American landscape painter living today,” she says.

Titled “Poetry of Landscape: The Seasons-Paintings by Russell Chatham,” the retrospective represents nearly 35 years of Chatham’s career. The exhibition is most impressive, Goldson says, because it represents the largest single collection of Chatham paintings.
The 68-year-old Chatham, from Livingston, Montana, is widely known for his original lithographs. Lithography involves applying paint to multiple plates, and then printing the plates for the finished image. Goldson says
Chatham uses primarily aluminum plates in his work, and where typical lithographs might be printed from four plates, Chatham uses as many as 20,
allowing for a far more subtle effect.
Chatham’s paintings and lithographs have been displayed in more than 400 one-man shows. His works can be found in more than 4,000 public and private collections, and his collectors are a who’s who of film, publishing, and more, including Jimmy Buffet, Tom Brokaw, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, and others.
Of the paintings set for display at the Dennos, Goldson says, “We had collected them one by one over the last 12 years.” She is enthused to have the works assembled in one location. “It’s great to see paintings I haven’t seen in years,” she says.
Jenneman says he is delighted to bring the collection to the area, as it is a chance to “present another side of Chatham.”
Goldson says the collection was possible “not only because of time, but patience and luck” as well. She says it would be impossible to put together a similar collection today, in part because Chatham is “not painting today as he was 10 or 20 years ago.”

Chatham, a native of California, picked up painting early, finding himself influenced by his grandfather Gottardo Piazzoni, who is considered one of the most important landscape painters of the early 20th century.
In addition to his painting and
lithography, Chatham is also a
notable author and publisher. His books,
including “Dark Waters” and “Seasons of the Angler,” deal largely with bird hunting and fly fishing, two of his other
passions. He also operates Clark City Press in Livingston.
Chatham’s connection to Northern Michigan is the result of his longtime friendship with writer Jim Harrison, a former Leelanau County resident and current Livingston area neighbor. Chatham’s paintings have regularly
appeared on the cover of Harrison’s more than three dozen books. In addition, Chatham’s work has graced the covers of books by another former Michigan resident, Dan Gerber, who has also long collected Chatham’s work.
Harry Goldson’s mutual friendship with Harrison ultimately forged the relationship between Chatham and Goldson. “Harrison told Harry, ‘I’ve got this friend I’d like you to meet,’” Piper says. Soon after, the Goldsons, who deal almost exclusively in rare works, began carrying Chatham’s work.

The paintings in the exhibition, which range in sizes up to 24 x 30 and consist primarily of oil on canvas,
represent the collections of many of Chatham’s literary friends. Goldson says two of the works were formerly part of the Gerber collection. One was once owned by author Richard
Brautigan, and another formerly
belonged to writer William Hjortsberg.
The paintings are displayed alongside storyboards that offer quotes about Chatham’s work from his
collectors and friends. Gerber declares that
Chatham “shows us how to look… with new eyes.” Harrison believes Chatham’s work “is so inconsolably austere and authoritative that we have the choice of turning away or temporarily losing our personalities.”
Chatham works with his own blended colors from a palette, primarily
depicting scenes of northern California and rural Montana, the two places he has called home. What results is a combination of light and shadow which
emotionally evokes the complexity of an
otherwise sober landscape.
Chatham has recently been out of the country, painting, and was
unavailable for comment at press time.
Goldson is hopeful he will be able to visit the
exhibition later this winter.
Though his work is well known in Northern Michigan, Chatham has only rarely used the area as subject matter. “Michigan Fields-II” renders a scene from Leelanau County and is a notable exception. It is a former part of Gerber’s collection.
Poetry of Landscape: The Seasons-Paintings by Russell Chatham runs through March 30. For info call the Dennos Museum Center at
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