“Acadia,” by Tad Retz.

Camden Falls Gallery presents the show “PAS DE DEUX,”  which can be enjoyed as painterly choreography between artists Aline Ordman and Tad Retz.

Pas de deux (French, noun) translates to “a dance for two people, typically a man and a woman.”

The show opened Sept. 17 and runs through Oct. 6.

Ordman and Retz both derive energy and inspiration from painting en plein air, where the visual complexities of the natural world offer up endless challenges.

“Susan’s Garden,” by Aline Ordman.

A master pastel and oil painter, Ordman stresses the analytical elements of shape, value and color saturation when she is teaching, asking her students to set aside pre conceptions of the objects or scene they are beholding and to concentrate on the negative and positive shapes and tonal planes that cause that object or scene to emerge. Ordman is an alchemist when it comes to transforming those abstract “bones” into a finished composition rich with layered pigment and movement.

Although she has held annual teaching workshops in France and Italy, she always is drawn back to a small village in Vermont called Peacham. For her it is the “Tuscany of New England.” Her work from that bucolic land of rolling hills and small farms speaks volumes of her passion for the pastoral and respect for those who work in concert with nature.

Whenever Ordman paints figures in a landscape she states, “I want to describe my vision — what hit me at the time I saw the scene. It’s all about the gesture, and body language.”

Retz is from upstate New York and has spend many hours analyzing the work of painters he admires, from master portrait artists like John Singer Sargent to the naturalist realism of Winslow Homer and George Bellows, whose genius evoked and appreciation of working class Americans and their daily struggles with the tumultuous sea and equally frenetic city life.

It is rare to find a young artist with as much self discipline as Retz. Self taught doesn’t even begin to describe the rigorous constraints, challenges and perimeters that he creates to force himself to work with fresh techniques and subject matter. Absorbing the old and new masters and learning from them enlivens his own originality and acts as a catalyst for experimentation.

“I don’t think of myself as trying to emulate anymore,” Retz says. “Sometimes it is a song or a  sculpture that ignites a creative, free and passionate emotion in me. Paintings inspire me because of the infinite routes that can be taken to get a successful image.”

Camden Falls Gallery is at 5 Public Landing in Camden. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Call 207-470-7027, email [email protected], or go to www.camdenfallsgallery.com for more information.

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Categories:   Camden, exhibitions, gallery, shows