Dancers Among Us: Jordan Matter
October 17, 2015 – January 17, 2016

Jordan Matter. Dancers Among Us (Meghan G. Meehan at the Hudson River Museum, October 2014). Courtesy of the artist

Jordan Matter’s stunning photographs appear at the Hudson River Museum in Fall 2015 in the exhibition Dancers Among Us, the photographer’s first major museum exhibition in the United States. Matter’s photographs, the subject of the New York Times-acclaimed best-selling book of the same name, Dancers Among Us, is “A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday,” just as it highlights the exuberance of the dancers who interpret a day’s moments, big and small, in beautiful movement.  Over thirty of Matter’s images, which include photographs from his book, new work, and new images of Westchester scenes, will be presented.

Video - Dancers Among Us: Jordan Matter - Making the Shot

Matter photographs dancers off the stage in unexpected places, no computer manipulation allowed. The world is his studio — its streets, libraries, playing fields, coffee shops, and highways. First a portrait photographer, Matter soon focused on the entire human figure and in the spontaneous movement of the dancer for a purpose — to use the dancer’s leaps and movement in everyday settings to capture life’s moments that we all live — joy, love, silence, grief, curiosity. He titles his photographs with his wit, poetry, and sometimes, quotations from  performers to philosophers, from Sammy Davis Jr. to Goethe.  We see A Good Catch  in a bikinied swimmer playfully tossed in New Rochelle’s waters, A young woman seems to hover in air above a Columbus Circle park bench in Rise Above it All, and illustrates Emily Dickinson’s phrase, “I Dwell in Possibility.” In another New York scene, Opening Night, a dancer points her toes at a starry sky, giving truth to Dante’s verse, “If thou follow thy star, thou canst not fail of a glorious heaven.”  Another dancer in Skinny Dip, her muscles gleaming in Chicago’s night lights, bounds close to Lake Michigan’s shoreline, reminding us of the Zen saying, “Leap and the Net Will Appear.”

Matter makes his point with light, color, and a supreme ability to capture a moment in time. Of the dancers so integral to his message, he writes, “Dancers are. . . trained to capture passion with their bodies. They often create a fantasy world or offer us a deeper look into familiar settings.

Weekend programs will feature a wide variety of live dance performances on a stage in the Museum galleries.     Dancers Among Us: Jordan Matter is organized by the Hudson River Museum.


Oh Panama! Jonas Lie Paints the Panama Canal
February 7 – May 8 2016

Central Wall, Pedro Miguel, 1913     Oil on canvas, 36 x 34 in.         Courtesy of the West Point Museum Collection, United States Military Academy


One hundred years ago the Panama Canal linked east to west, opening for the first time in history a water passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Now the Panama Canal Expansion Project, slated for completion in 2016, will open a new water lane to more and larger ships. Celebrating today’s Panama project, Oh Panama! looks back to the determined and spirited efforts of the architects and crews who accomplished the 1914 canal that was captured in paintings by Jonas Lie from the West Point Museum Collection, United States Military Academy. Lie’s paintings continue today to impress viewers as a sublime and beautiful document of man’s relentless quest to conquer nature and harness its riches.

    Heavenly Host, 1913    Oil on canvas, 50 x 60 inches
    Courtesy of the West Point Museum Collection, United States Military Academy

Norwegian-born painter Jonas Lie (1880-1940) inspired by a motion picture documentary of the construction of the canal visited the Panama Canal Zone for three months in 1913. He was enthralled by the feats of engineering required to dig the Culebra Cut, as well as the sublime visual qualities of the massive trench being carved across the Isthmus of Panama. Working tirelessly in the intense tropical heat, he produced oil sketches and drawings and took careful notes on the technical aspects of the canal construction.

Recognized by his peers as a scientist and a poet for his depictions of New York City, Lie’s canvasses were both historical documents of technological progress and dramatic interpretations of the urban environment.  The thirty known pictures he made of Panama are lively and colorful, capturing the spirit of that endeavor as well as its heroic quality and monumental scale. Lie recalled the Panama experience as a pivotal moment in his career, one from which he received national recognition for his work and also developed the aesthetic and technical strategies that influenced his landscape compositions from that point forward.

Panama by Air (Reel 4) (1914)

When Lie returned to New York, he exhibited twenty-eight paintings from the Panama cycle at the Knoedler Gallery; two —The Conquerors and Culebra Cut— were purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Detroit Institute of Arts before the exhibition embarked on a national tour in 1914. “… the exhibition embarked on a national tour in 1914. The exhibition was very popular with broad interest in Lie’s paintings fueled by publicity photographs, news reports, and the release of documentary films following the canal’s progress, such as the Edison Company’s The Joining of the Two Oceans, The Panama Canal.

Organized by the Hudson River Museum and James A. Michener Art Museum, Oh Panama! Jonas Lie Paints the Panama Canal is curated by Kirsten M. Jensen, Senior Curator of Exhibitions at the Michener Art Museum and Bartholomew F. Bland, Deputy Director of the Hudson River Museum. A fully-illustrated catalog with essays Jensen and Bland accompanies the exhibition, on view at the Hudson River Museum February 7 - May 8, 2016 and travels to the Michener Museum on view from July 23 to October 30, 2016.


Thomas Doyle: if the creek don’t rise
February 7 – May 8, 2016


Thomas Doyle’s small-scale sculpture of a house in if the creek don’t rise tells the story that takes place in a gray zone between everyday events and the fantastical calamities that can, at any time, strike a home. Doyle’s “people,” an assortment of figures, carry on, promenading or sitting, oblivious to encroaching danger. Viewers, though, are visually plunged into a world that is strange and yet unsettlingly familiar.

In his first solo Museum exhibition, Doyle creates a swollen riverbed that crosses the Museum’s gallery. A river that is flooding, it must be dammed, and the piled up paraphernalia from Doyle’s suburban house becomes the force that holds it back. The debris actually forms two dams and in between them sits a single house and a yard. “The dams, “Doyle said, “have a purpose, while nodding to absurdity of changing the natural world.”

After a decade working with model houses in 1:87 scale — the scale favored by most American model railroaders — Doyle has incorporated actual home building materials, such as drywall and studs into his works. And, for this exhibition, he has built four four-scale rooms with interiors awry, affected by the flood. As viewers spy the rooms through the windows of the house, they may find their expectations of safety and comfort upended in times of crisis.

These rooms, like the small sculptures that Doyle sets in his other homes, conjure the memories – peaceful and painful – that haunt a house over the years.

Doyle, who lives and works in Katonah, in New York’s Westchester County, has shown his sculptures at galleries and museums across the United States and in London, Florence, Seoul, and Beijing, among other locations. Organized by the Hudson River Museum, Thomas Doyle: if the creek don’t rise is curated by Bartholomew Bland, the Museum’s Deputy Director.