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Ron Milewicz’s Upland, by David Ebony
In Ron Milewicz’s recent paintings and drawings, trees are the principal protagonists. Milewicz trees are no ordinary specimens, however. Part of the landscape of Gallatin, a hilly area of rural upstate New York where the artist has lived and worked periodically over the past two years, the trees appear as spectral presences. Nurtured by ethereal light, crystalline air, and vaporous clouds of moisture—conveyed by finely nuanced tonal shifts—these ancient, ancestral trees possess firm roots and an insistent verticality . . . In these works, Milewicz employs a highly refined visual vocabulary that corresponds to his well-known series of panoramic cityscapes. In those earlier studies, he describes with precisionist authority a unified superstructure that he perceived in New York City’s cacophonous urban sprawl. Following an exploration of still life, many created in homage to his late father, Eli, the recent landscapes are intimate in scale and elegiac in tone. Some may be regarded as a tribute to his recently deceased mother, Anna. Here, as in all of Milewicz’s endeavors, personal themes mesh with art-historical allusions, including the Hudson River School, ancient Chinese landscape painting, and the mystical imagery of artists such as Samuel Palmer and Odilon Redon . . .The phantom trees . . . inhabit a metaphysical space that invites a quiet and gentle reverie. In Milewicz’s metaphorical picture-language, trees resign themselves to command a terrestrial domain, yet persistently strive to attain a heavenly realm.