Visual Arts

The Wild Blue Yonder

Linda Dujack, “Gift from the Sea,” Monoprint, found objects, assemblage

Blue has many meanings. It can refer to the deep blue sea, the color of the Virgin Mary’s cloak, a blue ribbon for first prize and even blue-chip stocks. Blue can also depict emotions as in the sad, impoverished people in Pablo Picasso’s “blue period” paintings.

“Kind of Blue,” a duo exhibition by Linda Ganus Albulescu and Linda Dujack, at the Pictor Gallery in Chelsea, explores the various intensities of blue and sometimes red in a group of deeply moving works. Ganus’s paintings are large scale, mostly ocean landscapes, in oil on canvas. In contrast, Dujack’s work is small scale, mixed media, drypoint, acrylic and profoundly symbolist.

What the artists have in common is a relationship to the early 20th-century European Blue Rider movement where painters used color to evoke moods and ideas. Both Dujack and Ganus in their work are responding to the emotional atmosphere of our time. They use color—every blue hue on the palette and sometimes red—to explore their deepest feelings.

One of the most arresting of Linda Dujack’s work is the mixed-media Gift from the Sea. Among the 18 depictions of dresses, this sea net dress with a tiny waist and short sleeves against a blue background, has a tiny mollusk adhered to the skirt. In her Devil with the Red Dress, a small assemblage, the dress is on a hanger, the red is a softer red and the background is white.

Dujack’s storybook red dresses, inspired by fairytales like Cinderella, reflect the artist’s focus on women in society today and the stories that shaped them growing up, surrounded by happy endings or disappointments that ensued when “real life” caused a disconnect between past and present.

All her work is open to interpretation. As Dujack says “a dress can help define who you are and who you want to be. A dress can make you dream, dance, cry, or sing. What is so wonderful about a dress is that you can be anyone you want to be because a dress shelters daydreams.”

Dujack is an award-winning printmaker and painter. She also works in collage, wood construction, and sculpture with found art. She worked for many years in the pharmaceutical business and later taught art to children at a private school. She often credits Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Motherwell as artists who led her to explore fields of color. Like them, she has gone against the rules creating highly personal work.

Linda Ganus who has spent many years sailing, has a deep awareness of how currents, clouds, air, and atmosphere affect our perceptions of the ocean. Clouds, especially, seem to fascinate Ganus. In her dynamic treatment, they can be peaceful, angry, and even raging.

Although trained as a professional musician, who formerly played flute with the New York City Opera, she favors the jazz of Miles Davis, whose trumpet introduced her to new forms of music. (No surprise that his best selling album is “Kind of Blue.”)

Linda Ganus Albulescu, “Passage to Cythera”

The largest work in the exhibition is Ganus’s Passage to Cythera, inspired by French painter Jean-Antoine Watteau. The 1717 work is an allegorical love story about young lovers who are about to leave the idyllic, mythical Greek island of love at twilight. Ganus’s painting is infused with morning light. The billowing clouds dominate the canvas while the sea is calm. Is this just a moment of peace, a tranquil time interspersed with turmoil? The painting seems to say better times are ahead in spite of the gloomy present.

With Ganus, color spreads across each canvas which can be read on two levels—as a seascape or as a reflection of an interior landscape, layered with feelings. Ganus’s work is in many private collections and Manhattan galleries. She has degrees in both fine art and music and works in a variety of media—drawing, painting, photography video, and sound. Currently, Ganus teaches a course in music and art as an adjunct professor at Lehigh University and spends her free time sailing on her 32-foot sloop along the New Jersey coast. G&S

Recently seen at Pictor Gallery, 547 West 27th Street, Suite 204 –

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