Gift of Charles J. Ingersoll, 2012
My love of nature provides me with a working structure—a storehouse of sensory memories, which I am representing and abstracting at the same time.
In 1966, Baltzell started spending time each year in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, in a house overlooking a vast expanse of open sky and marshes surrounding the Herring River. For many years thereafter she made paintings like this one that grew from her experiences and memories of the river’s dramatic, watery landscape. Here, a tightly compressed and seemingly impenetrable knot of energy seems to release outward from the center, an opening of space as diagonal marks and shapes seem to expand to the work’s edge. By applying oil pastel onto the Mylar surface, she creates illusions of watery depth.
Baltzell attended the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts), where her teachers included Larry Day and landscape painter Gretna Campbell. She received an MFA in 1971. Her works are in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Bryn Mawr College, and others. She has taught at PAFA since 1985. Baltzell is the daughter of Jane Piper, whose work also hangs in this gallery.