Walks Along the Hudson

Frances Hynes (American, b. 1945)
ca. 1995
MediumOil and charcoal on unstretched burlap, mounted on canvas
Dimensions47 × 48 inches
CreditGift of the artist, 2019, in memory of the Nolen-Hynes Family and Lorenz Benz, my great-grandfather who walked along the Hudson
© Frances Hynes
Accession Number2019.08.2

While growing up, Frances Hynes’ mother told her stories of her great-grandfather, Lorenz Benz, a gardener and immigrant from Switzerland who started a family tradition of walking through woods and mountains. In Walks Along the Hudson, Hynes honors this tradition by tracing her footprints and placing them among deer, the suggestion of trails, and lush greens that bring to mind the forests along the Hudson and in the Catskills, which she and her family have hiked for generations.

Hynes uses the organic and frayed nature of burlap that has not been stretched over canvas bars as a way to recall the “. . . organic imagery of the landscape and animals” within her pieces. The unstretched canvas also serves a practical purpose by allowing Hynes to lay the fabric on the floor and trace her footsteps in charcoal on the burlap, placing herself directly within the world of her artwork. This painting is part of a group of semi-abstract works Hynes painted in the 1990s that primarily featured animals and humans in natural surroundings.

Hynes, who is based in Queens and Maine, has had her work featured in many collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Albany Institute of History and Art, the Nassau Museum of Fine Arts, the Newark Museum of Art, and the Queens Museum. She has taught and held residencies at numerous institutions.