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Artist's Rye Exhibit Inspired By Trip To India

RYE, N.Y. – A colorful new set of works by artist Katharine Dufault that reflect her visual experience during her latest visit to Northern India, a region known colloquially as Hindustan, are on display at the Rye Arts Center through Oct. 20.

Dufault drew her inspiration for “Reflections of Hindustan,” during her second visit to India in March to the region that includes the Punjab and Uttar Pradesh areas. “I was so taken with the colors. In that very hot equatorial light everything is bright and they’ve embraced it, so you see color everywhere. The people are dressed in color, just wonderful color everywhere,” she said.

The Taj Mahal was an integral source of inspiration for Dufault. The well-traveled Dufault says it was “the most breathtaking building” she had ever seen. “It was just exquisite and I was so taken by it. I wanted to enjoy it. So some of the paintings are just enjoying these amazing buildings,” she said.

She took photos as a travelogue and used them as references when she was painting in oils all summer in her home studio to prepare for the show. “You can’t really even copy it because you have to be there,” she said. “The Taj Mahal, being in its presence was just incredible, so I was very, very struck by that.”

A few of the paintings in the show feature animals, like elephants and buffalo that she came across in her travels. “I couldn’t resist the buffalo,” said Dufault. “You drive through the countryside and we had a driver drive us - I didn’t want my husband to navigate – and outside of these shacks everyone has these beautiful buffalo and they were chained up outside just sitting there there’s something marvelous about them.”

As she was mixing the darker colors for one of her buffalo paintings, the shades reminded her of the night sky in India. She began a secondary set of paintings to show more abstract nighttime views. “In the north it’s quite flat and you get these beautiful vistas when you travel by train that’s what the night ones were based on,” she said. “As the day changes from night there are these absolutely gorgeous colors. You see them here, too, but there’s something about being away and being very aware of it.”

While this is Dufault’s first solo show at the Rye Arts Center, she has volunteered with the center for two years and was featured in several group shows. Recently, she was asked to curate a show opening in November featuring 12 abstract artists and their different views of the world. The opening reception for that show, “From Where I Stand,” will be Nov. 18 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on the Rye Arts Center or any of the gallery shows, call 914-967-0700, email info@ryeartscenter.org , or visit the center's website. The Rye Arts Center is at 51 Milton Road in Rye.