Hall Groat Sr: A Painter’s Painter
New York Art Review
By Hall Groat II, President, New York Art Collection
(click on images to enlarge)
Central New York artist, Hall Groat Sr, over the past fifty years has often been referred to as a “painter’s painter” and a “brush slinger”. This eighty-year-old artist unpretentiously embraces the spirit of twentieth century modernism in both form and content. Rather than bearing witness to human suffering and tragedy like many of his contemporaries, he chooses to elevate the human spirit through his art. His work expresses a universal language through the intrinsic beauty of paint and form, which is made assessable to everyone. Groat’s subject matter is diverse, ranging from evocative representations of urban life and nature scenes to mystical musical compositions and historical depictions of Central New York social progress.
Groat’s life-long passion for classical music is the central theme of a figurative work entitled American Tribute, which portrays a group of bassists dressed in white, situated within the foreground, which appears to be the front, edge of the stage. Depicted directly below the stage are suggestions of the audiences’ heads. This is a quintessential example of Groat at his best. This bold painting like many of his works naturally merges representational forms with a field of abstract geometry. These inventive non-representational background shapes mimic the musicians’ rhythmic movements, enhancing the overall sense of visual and musical energy. The patriotic American flag is also dynamically composed to reinforce the tension within the piece.
24″x48″ Oil on wooden panel
By Hall Groat Sr., American Artist
In the majestic nature work entitled Herring Cove Beach, the artist depicts the gnarly, weathered topography that is characteristic of the Cape Cod landscape. This piece, similar to American Tribute, elegantly pulls together the worlds of abstract and representational painting. The rich, visceral nature of the paint suggests the erosion of sand and roots within the foreground. This is sensitively contrasted with the soft, atmospheric foliage forms up above. This landscape over all possesses an ephemeral, atmospheric quality, which is apropos based on the transition of Mother Nature on the Cape over the past forty years. The landscape has indeed been compromised by the negative impact of seasonal weathering coupled with increased tourism.
The hallmark of Hall Groat Sr’s work and perhaps the subject that many of his Central New York corporate collectors through the years have identified him with involves 19th century historical scenes of downtown Syracuse, New York during the era of the Erie Canal. These iconic paintings bear witness to a time in history when industry and innovation were strong and the American Dream was a reality. In the 24 by 48 inch work called the Erie Canal both the bold use of color and interlocking geometry evokes a sense of movement, energy and adventure.
One of my all-time favorite pieces though, is a mystical marine painting entitled Night Watch. This highly seductive painting is of a ship sailing within a turbulent sea, which appears to be illuminated by the moon. This painting poses more questions than provides answers, as it envelopes one in an enigmatic atmospheric space charged with mystery and emotion.
If you ever find yourself traveling through Syracuse, New York, make it a point to visit the studio of Hall Groat Sr. for a day that you will never forget! A selection of his work may be viewed on-line at www.HallGroat.com Also, be certain to pick up a copy of Groat’s latest book entitled: They Called Me the Brush Slinger: Creating a Career in Art. This book offers valuable information and insight into the life of an artist, along with an overview of marketing skills necessary to succeed in the art world. Hall shares tales of both the bright and dark sides of being a self-employed artist that serve as a reality check for anyone planning a career in art. Following the artist around the world on his wonderful journey full of soul searching and hilarious experiences makes this book a fun read for art lovers and students of all ages.