Driving along a flat stretch of highway with a purple and orange sunset in the rearview mirror or through Times Square during rush hour in Manhattan, one is left with a feeling of buzzed, vibrating stimulation, as though a shot of Red Bull was just administered on the heels of a triple mocha cappuccino.
The sensation – at once bracing, exciting and vaguely alarming – is similar to the one experienced at an exhibit of Jill Krutick’s abstract oil paintings.
“I’ve always loved color and texture,” Krutick explained. “I use colors to capture moments and emotion.”
Some of the moments and emotions captured on Krutick's canvasses are passionate and turbulent, while others lilt along in a meditative trance.
Krutick, a Scarsdale resident for the past eight years, recently launched her one-woman show of her work at the Manor Club in Pelham, New York, a storied institution and a setting which provides a perfect counterbalance to her decidedly modern work.
The Manor Club, built in the Tudor style in 1922, is a sprawling social club for women situated on the wide, leafy Esplanade in the village of Pelham. The original Club was conceived in the 1870s when residents such as Thomas Dewitt and Henry W. Taft (the president’s brother) formed an organization in which they could pursue musical, dramatic and literary hobbies in a social setting.
As with many other nineteenth century clubs, balls were given, business deals were sealed, billiards were played, tennis tournaments were launched and tongues were often set wagging.
In its current iteration, the Manor Club hews to the spirit of the founders with a forward-thinking twist. Krutick’s work is displayed in airy first-floor rooms adorned with oil paintings, Oriental rugs and magnificent books (first editions of Byron, Shelley and dozens of other minor treasures) – the kind of rooms one pictures Joss Whedon recreating, were he ever to set one of his dramatic, highly decorated visual feasts in Westchester.
The art work, abstract expressionistic oils sizzle with violent neon colors here while melting into gentle desert twilight colors there. While they don’t seem to belong to each other at first glance, their stark differences underline and compliment each other over time.
Krutick cites Van Gogh and Monet as her favorite artists and her inspiration, though she stopped directly mimicking their work several years ago.
“I started out by copying the masters,” Krutick said. “I’ve been painting since I was a child, but I’ve moved into abstract painting as my technique evolved in the past 10-15 years.”
Their influence can still be felt, though indirectly. Monet, as notable and vaunted for his actual creations as for his revolutionary techniques in the depiction of light and color, is the most obvious influence. And like the Impressionistic master’s work, when viewers approach Krutick’s paintings and examine them closely, they often appear quite different – though not unpleasantly so – than they did across the room... or even five paces away.
Krutick's work, primarily created with the use of palette knives instead of brushes, also resembles Jackson Pollock’s work in its harmonious, geometric depiction of seemingly random “splotches” of paint. At closer inspection, it’s clear that the “splotches” are meticulously applied and mapped out.
Krutick spent two decades on Wall Street as an analyst, and is currently in charge of investor relations at Warner Music Group. She is married, the mother of two children ages 15 and 12, and she attests that both her inner math geek and her family both influence her work.
“I focus on creating balance in my paintings, and some tend to be rather free form yet geometric,” Krutick said. “I get inspiration from everything around me and ‘collect’ colors wherever I go. Through painting multiple colors, one can capture a mood or interpretation to create thematic works. My children have been a great inspiration to me and support to me in these efforts. They help me name the paints, suggest color choices and my son designed my website!”
Krutick has dedicated more time to her artwork in the past year – many of the 31 paintings on display was created in the last few years, though some date back as far as 1990. Each painting evokes a world of its own, a family of colors and a small, shimmering universe of intellectual sensations. An exploration will reveal as much about a viewer’s emotional state as it does the painter’s.
Krutick's will be on display at The Manor Club until May 24. The Manor Club is located at 1023 Esplanade in Pelham. Admission is free; some of the paintings are for sale, while others are on loan from private collections. More information on Krutick can be found at her personal website, www.jskartstudio.com.