Cathy Nan Quinlan, Simple Still Life (2011)
Valentine is an apartment gallery in the Ridgewood section of Queens, a vital little venue at the eastern edge of the arts wave that has washed over Williamsburg and now inundates Bushwick, Brooklyn. Fred Valentine, the gallery's owner, is a refugee from Williamsburg with an eye for off-the-grid art. His exhibition of still-life paintings by Cathy Nan Quinlan (b. 1953) and ink landscapes by Kurt Hoffman (b. 1957) demonstrates how alternative the alternative can be.
Ms. Quinlan starts with Giorgio Morandi's iconic etchings and recasts them in oil, painting her own hatch-marks. The work has an intimate, cool feel, with unexpected colors in place of Morandi's black and white. Ms. Quinlan once ran her own Williamsburg space called the "'temporary Museum" that, she writes on her website, prized the "compact, intense stillness" of oil on canvas.
Cathy Nan Quinlan, Optimism (2011)
Kurt Hoffman, Ramble, NYC, Jan 1, 2012 (2012)
Over the past decade Mr. Hoffman has gone from drawing lewd little pictures to serene large landscapes. Examples of both are now on view. In 2010 the Eastern tradition of ink brushed on paper compelled him to turn off the cartoons and head to Central Park to draw en plein air.
Kurt Hoffman, Japanese Maple (2010)
The resulting landscapes might border on chinoiserie, but the spare beauty of "Japanese Maple" (2010) rises above pastiche with its simple beauty.
Cathy Nan Quinlan and Kurt Hoffman
464 Seneca Ave., Ridgewood, N.Y.
Through June 24
--adapted from "Course of Nature and Faust," The Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2012