Coastal landscapes inspire artist’s work

By Jacqueline Hall The Columbus Dispatch (KRT)

Robert Cardinal, a long time resident of New England, has expanded his attention from isolated barns, cottages and lighthouses to boats.

The rural and coastal landscapes on view at Hammond Harkins Galleries reflect such interests.

“Northern Light: New Paintings by Robert Cardinal” marks his first solo show in the Midwest and presents a large and varied selection of recent paintings.

The native of Canada trained in Paris and New York.

In his most recent work, he likes the juxtaposition of a solitary boat caught between sky and ocean.

Sometimes, as in End of Day, the sail is still up; elsewhere, as in Low Tide, Pamet Harbor and Pamet Harbor, Truro, only the hull is reflected in the ocean.

His handling of light and color, whatever the subject, makes his works unusual: He paints by the vibrant hues of sunrise and the bold shadows of sunset.

Because of his lighting, the simplest scenes take on a feeling of isolation or even mystery. Some scenes have a remarkable sense of stillness, reminiscent of the work of Edward Hopper.

Cardinal’s buildings can exude personality. A feeling of expectation is found in Beach Point Cottages and Route 7, Vermont 2.

In painting the same scene from different angles, Cardinal achieves a variety of views and moods. Highland Light, Dusk is unexpectedly animated, almost free-spirited. Highland Light, Sunset, barely recognizable as the same subject, enjoys the bold rays of a setting sun. Highland Light, Near Dark becomes mysterious, even eerie.

Uncomplicated compositions that often border on the abstract, combined with the iridescent quality of painted surfaces, give the landscapes and seascapes charm and sometimes, even magic.