Paintings by Rosamund Zander

Boston Globe Review

Tyringham, 1981, Oil on CanvasThe French Barbizón School with its solidly modeled forms and deep space is a less obvious inspiration for a landscape painter today than the later atmospheric work of the impressionists. In her exhibition of paintings at the Old Shwamb Mill in Arlington, Rosamund Zander reveals how satisfactory–and individually expressive–this response to landscape can be.

Her studies are modest, firmly structured and scrupulously painted. The palette suggests the predominant smoky greens, grays and browns of a Courbet, but the accent of primary color In a meadow or orchard often lends the scene optical sparkle. The artist knows how to subtly entice the eye Into the composition via a winding path, and how to balance terrain and sky, and a harmony between formal elements leads to successful pictorial treatments.

As if to emphasize structural aspects, Sunset over Georgica Pond, 1985, Oil on CanvasZander may concentrate on subjects seen close to the fronds of Bermuda vegetation, the fountain-like motif of an apple tree or an all-over handling of the convincing movements and shadows of foliage. Often there are complicated internal rhythms to lend variety to the intervals of space. Impressive in her paintings is its capacity to draw visual clarity out of flickering and unstable natural phenomena, a sunshot Cape Cod dune or what the French call sous bois," an atmosphere of diffused light beneath, say, a densely interwoven tracery of leaves.

Her painting is best when it permits an essentially classical temperament to find expression in the dramatic force of underlying geometric structures. Reducing landscapes to firmly organized shapes, Zander is wholly convincing her work becomes less so when the handling looser; approaching the pure impressionist technique of applying small patches of heavily loaded brushwork, she has a tendency to overwork the canvas.Vermont Road, 1983, Oil on Canvas

The landscapes are framed in period yet are by no means pastiche. They stand on their own though what is more apposite than seeing them in a mill erected in 1860? The Schwamb brothers who built it would probably fancy Barbizón too.

Boston Globe