Hope Gangloff

Branching out

<em>A Whole Day in the Apple Orchard Version 2</em>, 2022.
A Whole Day in the Apple Orchard Version 2, 2022.

As a child, Hope Gangloff drew cartoons and portraits of people, working from her imagination and from real life. She would focus on faces, so intent on capturing each person’s likeness or unique quirks that she would forget to add details to the background. She realized that rendering “a blurry background,” as she puts it, was “a wasted opportunity,” and she started paying closer attention to the world around her—namely to nature. One of her aims now is to give nature that “jostling, moving personality that a person has.” Although she still draws or paints the occasional person, her main focus for the past five years has been landscape paintings and what she calls “portraits of trees.”

  • Rose of Sharon in Winter, 2022.

Gangloff grew up on Long Island and worked as an artist in New York City before moving upstate. She depicts the rolling hills, lakes, orchards, and forests of her rural environs on a massive scale. Her large paintings—riots of cobalt blue, cherry pink, and lime green—tower over the viewer. “I like to work big,” she says, “so when you’re standing in front of a painting, you’re overwhelmed by color fields. The colors that make up other colors are so infinitely variable; it speaks to me.” Although she travels for inspiration, Gangloff typically finds herself studying (and painting) the trees outside her window, trying to capture their specific movements—how they sway in the wind or blossom in the spring. “I love the trees that surround me, and boy, I wouldn’t trade them for the world,” she says. “I love watching the seasons moving in and out.” This is how she used to observe people—with intensity, care, and attention. And in each work, she tries to communicate something essential to her viewers. “Whereas words can be fraught and misinterpreted,” she says, “if you put your energy into making art, you can say a whole lot of different things without saying anything at all.”

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Noelani Kirschner is a former assistant editor for the Scholar.


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