Ilana Manolson: The River Between

June 22 - October 19, 2024

Ilana Manolson’s approach to the venerable genre of landscape painting breaks the convention of framing a scene, in which we see a painting as a window on the world. Instead, her images cascade in layers down and around the gallery walls. She uses landscape as a scaffold on which to play with paint and space. 

Fully in command of her medium, Manolson’s hand is evident in open, energetic brushwork. The painted surfaces vary from thin veneers to thick impasto, from lacquered caverns to gossamer veils. Her complicated compositions are at once abstract and representational. She deploys a myriad of blues that undulate in ribbons flowing past, or they bump against densely massed passages of rich umbers, vibrant greens, and sallow yellows.

Viewing these works is not only a visual experience but also a visceral one. Without touching the art, we understand and respond to its tactility. In some cases, the paintings appeal to our other senses. They evoke the warmth of dappled sunlight as it hits our skin or eyes; the dampness of a river bank; the scents of water, earth, and trees; the squelch of moss; or the snap of twigs breaking underfoot.

— Mara Williams, curator

No person ever steps in the same river twice,
for it’s not the same river and they’re not the same person.”
  — Heraclitus

Water is an essential resource of life. Everchanging, it holds the power to heal and also to destroy. When we live beside bodies of water, we experience both its life-giving and life-threatening force. My paintings, like water, speak to the constancy of change in nature, and they also speak to the human role in that change. I share the fragility of life and celebrate the glory of transition. I look to water to tell us about shifts in the environment. My paintings flow into one another, depicting scenes that move from serene to catastrophic. As water changes, it alters its environment, whether through erosion, flooding, nourishment, or drought. What we, as humans, do upstream will affect what happens downstream. 

— Ilana Manolson


Ilana Manolson is a painter, printmaker, and naturalist living and working in Concord, MA.

Manolson’s work has been exhibited at many galleries and museums including the Jason McCoy Gallery, the Danforth Museum of Art, the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and the Boston Public Library. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), the Danforth Art Museum, The RISD museum, the Boston Public Library, and numerous corporate collections.

She is a two-time winner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship for Painting, and received the St. Botolph Artist Grant, Boston. Her residencies include the Banff Centre for the Arts residency, where she was a Leighton Fellow, the Mass MoCA residency, Yaddo Artist Colony, and Banff School of Fine Arts. She received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.


June 22, Saturday, 5:30 p.m. — Opening of Eight New Exhibits
August 2, Friday, 5 p.m. — Gallery Walk: River Drawing
September 29, Sunday, 2 p.m. — Art x Science: Ilana Manolson and Rebecca Todd


Installation views
Ask the Artist!