Former American Ambassador to Algeria R.W. Erdman will have his work featured at Hughes Gallery’s 20-year celebration

January 3, 2020
By Marcy Shortuse

A message from our good friend and Hughes Gallery owner, Barbara Hughes.
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We kick off our 20th-year celebration with a dear friend and artist, Richard W. Erdman, former Ambassador to Algeria.
Having served with the State Department for many years, Dick and his wife Silvia have traveled the world and seen exceptional beauty and art everywhere they’ve visited. I met them many years ago, when Dick was appointed by then-President George W. Bush and preparing to assume the responsibility of American Ambassador to Algeria.
Hughes Gallery was honored to loan paintings for the ambassador’s residency in Algeria, for a term of three years, from artists Del-Bourree Bach and Rosebee. Through this association we became friends, and I was able to watch Richard develop into an impressive painter himself.
Frankly, I was amazed at how well and how quickly Dick took to painting.
Dick always had new works to show me and often asked for my critique when they visited the island. I noted how his images possessed a certain quiet and compelling loneliness, not unlike Edward Hopper’s work, so I asked if he could focus on the solitudinous “feeling.” He did.
Over the years I’ve mentored many artists through Hughes Gallery, but when I saw photos of his work this past year during their visit, I was strongly compelled to invite him to exhibit with us, for his initial formal art show.
What Dick brings to Hughes Gallery is the perception of an aware and well-traveled soul. It takes a deep sense of observation, a tremendous connection to this living, breathing Earth and a vast, and genuine, love of humanity to be capable of transferring a palpable sense of seclusion onto canvas. We all enjoy “keeping company,” but there is something completely delicious, and yes, even magical, about seclusion. Seeing with every sense gifted us usually means being capable of appreciating a place and sensing its core. In this busy, clamoring, contemporary world most of us just don’t have the opportunity to look and see.
With Dick’s paintings I find myself wandering into them, taking the fork in the road I’d seldom take, noticing the inky tone of the water during the gloaming hour of nightfall, feeling the stillness of the water, watching the mirrored surface of a lake … just being one with wherever I find myself.
We invite you to join us for an artist’s reception for Richard W. Erdman on Monday, Jan. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Gallery.
On Monday, Jan. 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Daniel Ambrose will discuss the “Art of Seeing.”
Those of you who know Daniel  know the excellence he brings to Hughes Gallery. Whether painting in Egg Tempera or oil, Daniel always gifts us with the very best of who he strives to be, and that is a lovely, old soul. Through his work he asks us to stop, be present in the moment and see, often beyond looking.
What, exactly, does that mean?  It can be something as simple as noticing the depth different colors assume within different light, or absence of light. It can mean understanding the principle of negative space on the importance of some compositions. It can mean noticing nuances and variations of colors and how they impact surrounding colors. There is an almost endless range of ideas and thoughts, which go into the equation of composing, planning and executing any work of art – painting or poem.
Come closer … closer, still … really look at Daniel’s paintings. Get up close and personal … then, be grateful for your eyes. I know I am.