Cynthia Hartling grew up on the outskirts of Albany, New York, spending hours playing outdoors in the power-lined farmland nearby, observing the change of day, noticing the smell of approaching seasons, all of which helped form her sense of the tactile and love of the outdoors. From an early age, her mother encouraged her to draw and she can still recall the sensation of moving a pen or crayon across the slick, thin surface of discarded cardboard sheets from her father’s laundered shirts and the magic she felt. Cynthia’s maternal French-Canadian grandparents, who lived a hardscrabble life, her paternal grandfather, a carpenter and musician from Nova Scotia, and the newly built Empire State Plaza in Albany with its abstract art, left a lasting impression.

Cynthia Painting

Photo Credit: Fiona Ross

Cynthia attended SUNY New Paltz’s Art Studio program and spent time hiking and sketching in the Shawangunk mountains. In her junior year she studied at the Istituto Statale d’Arte in Urbino, Italy on an overseas program. Her art history classes were held inside the Ducal Palace, the Duomo and the Scrovegni Chapel, to name a few where she was taken by the works of Giotto, Mantegna and Piero della Francesca for their seemingly simple and natural way they approached perspective and composition, using sculptural forms and vibrant color to explain the inexplicable.

She traveled throughout Europe on a student Eurail pass, absorbing as much as possible from the likes of the Book of Kells in Dublin, Notre-Dame, the Louvre and Centre Pompidou in Paris, Malta whose ancient language is a fascinating mix of Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman, Greek, Arab, Norman, Aragonese, French, and British, while viewing Caravaggio and visiting Neolithic temples in Gozo. Her travels were a pivotal and life changing opportunity to experience and seek out foreign places, landscapes and cultures to learn from and synthesize in her art and led to many future trips including hiking in the Adirondacks, Scotland’s Standing Stones, Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago Compostela in France and Spain, Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, and Mayan temples in Mexico and Belize.

Upon returning to the states, she moved to New York City and received her BFA from The Cooper Union where she found a lively artistic community in which to thrive. The New York School and Abstract Expressionist’s principles based on Existentialist philosophy and unconventional ways of making art, using improvisation and spontaneity, offered her a direct way to transform her own experiences into being, while questioning what art is.

Cynthia In New York

Photo Credit: Aldo Mauro

After many years in New York, she now lives and works in New Mexico. Her visual language lies in the tactile and hidden, utilizing color, form and shape as her subject matter capturing both static and fleeting moments, in order to both question and inhabit felt and perceived experience in an almost diarist confession of emotions.

Recent awards and exhibitions include Winter Show at G2 Gallery, Santa Fe, Grant Winner 2022 Glass Alliance, New Mexico & Bullseye, Santa Fe; Creativity and Covid: Generate, at SITE Santa Fe, NM; Small Works Group Show at J.Mackey Gallery, Easthampton, NY; Postcards for Democracy, Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, Ft. Myers, FL.

Cynthia’s work is in numerous private collections and has been shown in solo and group exhibitions at the Brattleboro Museum, Wave Hill, Brooklyn Museum, Berkshire Museum, PIEROGI, N3 Project Space, Janet Kurnatowski Gallery, Centotto, Sideshow, and Beverley Knowles Fine Art. She has work featured in the magazine The Sciences, on the cover of Sharmila Voorakkara’s book of poems Fire Wheel and is included in I DON’T POEM: an anthology of painters, Off The Park Press by Claudia La Rocco. Reviews of her work have appeared in Billboard, Delicious Line Inc., After Vasari, The Brooklyn Rail, artcritical.com, The Times Union and NY Arts Magazine.

Cynthia was nominated for a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painting and Sculptor Grant and is the recipient of a Milton and Sally Michel Avery endowed residency for visual arts at Yaddo; a Carlo Cego Residency Fellowship at BAU Institute; a Barbara White endowed painting award at Vermont Studio Center; and visual art residencies at Fundación Valparaiso; Jentel; Art Farm; Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

You can download Cynthia’s Curriculum Vitae.

Contact Cynthia

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