Black Bass Antiques Features Prominent Rustic Artist
By Mirror Staff
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Barney Bellinger’s work is exhibited at the Adirondack Museum, the National Museum of Wildlife Art and in New York galleries.
It’s now on view in Bolton Landing as well, at Black Bass Antiques, where owner Henry Caldwell has dedicated a portion of the shop to a display of Bellinger’s furniture, paintings and decorative pieces.
“Last summer I participated in a small group show at Silver Bay, which was very successful,” says Bellinger. “That showed me that there was a great deal of interest in the kind of work I do on the lake, so I thought it would be nice to try to exhibit some pieces here in Bolton Landing.”
Bellinger and Caldwell have known each other for years, so Black Bass was an obvious place for Bellinger’s mini-gallery.
“Henry didn’t know what I was going to do; he didn’t even ask what I was going to do,” says Bellinger.
According to Henry Caldwell, “Barney Bellinger is one of the foremost Adirondack artisans working today. Having some of his pieces here only enhances the appeal of my shop.”
Bellinger painted walls, installed lighting and selected a few representative pieces for the room, including a mirror made from antique fly rods, a table that incorporates oars and samples of his signature work: pieces of furniture decorated with his own finely detailed landscape paintings.
Given that he’s such an accomplished artist, people assume that Bellinger studied painting or furniture design in graduate school or at least in college.
In fact, as he cheerfully admits, he’s entirely self-taught, an artist who learned his craft pinstriping motorcycles and painting signs.
He grew up, however, on the periphery of the Adirondack Park, and days spent in the woods with his grandfather, a onetime logger, “must have left a deep impression on me, deeper than I realized at the time,” he says.
Bellinger didn’t start making rustic furniture until the 1990s. He exhibited his first pieces at one of the Adirondack Museum’s first annual Rustic Furniture Fairs and has been making and selling one-of-a-kind pieces ever since.
“I have clients all over the world,” says Bellinger. While the popularity of the rustic style has led to a proliferation of poorly designed, poorly made pieces, the demand for furniture and furnishings that are works of art in themselves remains constant, Bellinger says.
“People gravitate toward the rustic style because it suggests a slower, quieter way of life,” he says. “It evokes nostalgia for the natural world and allows people to incorporate the outdoors into their daily lives.”
Black Bass’s gallery also contains 19th century paintings of Lake George and the Adirondacks selected by Bernard Brown and available through Bernard R. Brown Fine Art.
Black Bass is located on Bolton Landing’s Main Street. Call 644-2389 for more information.