New art exhibit captures the Italian Alps in winter

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The Alfred Van Loen Gallery at the South Huntington Library will host a solo exhibit of watercolor paintings by Riccarda de Eccher. The gallery will present large watercolor paintings focusing on the Dolomite Mountain range in Northern Italy where the artist grew up.  The exhibit will run from Saturday, Feb. 2 to Feb. 27.

The series of paintings are intimate mountain views, focal points of interest — complex, yet delicate paintings of pale colors with subtle color changes.  De Eccher’s experiences as a hiker and mountaineer filter through to her paintings.  For anyone who has walked, hiked or lived in a mountainous setting, these paintings will evoke meditative association.

De Eccher’s interest in mountains stems from growing up in the Dolomites, a mountain range that forms a southern extension of the Alps.  Learning to hike and climb, de Eccher became an avid mountaineer.  Eventually she would go on to climb several of the world’s most prominent peaks, including Mount Everest in 1980.

De Eccher began painting later in life out of curiosity to learn more about the flowers and plants she would pass while climbing mountains.

“So I brought a box of watercolors, the ones that children in kindergarten get, with the round pans,” she said. “It came with a brush that I would not touch with a 10-foot pole now. I started to paint the flowers and I had a love at first sight.  I just enjoyed the feeling of the brush on the paper, of the transparency, of the light going through it.”

De Eccher’s paintings are a reminder of how deeply engaging the landscape genre can be. This is something Cezanne and Turner both embraced.

“I understood that watercolor was very complicated,” De Eccher went on to say.  “It was drawing, it was composition, it was the water, the color. I said to myself, ‘I better go one step back and start with a drawing class.’ Drawing is something that is actually still in my practice. When I work on an image and do not get out of my painting what I want, I always take a step back and do one, or more than one drawing. I draw to understand about the structure of the image.”

De Eccher was born in Bolzano and grew up in Udine, Italy.  Her work has been featured at the Casa Cavazzini Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Udine; Galleria d’Arte Moderna Enrico de Cillia, Treppo, Carnico, Italy; Gallery ArtCube, Paris, France; and the Sala delle Esposizioni, Bolzano, Italy.  She lives and works on Long Island.

The Alfred Van Loen Gallery at the South Huntington Library is at 145 Pidgeon Hill Road in Huntington Station.

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