Ival Stratford-Kovner: Horse Drawn

Horse Drawn

August 2-20, 2011

Opening Reception: August 4, 5–8 pm

Blue Mountain Gallery is pleased to present “Horse Drawn,” a series of drawings executed in charcoal, monochromatic pastel, oil stick and burnt sienna wash, by the artist Ival. The show opens August 2 and continues through August 20. A gallery reception is scheduled for August 4, Thursday, 5 – 8 PM. The artist will also be present each Saturday for the duration of the show to discuss her work.

Fifty troopers and thirty mounts of the Connecticut Horse Guard stationed in Newtown, CT, provided both the inspiration and a unique artistic challenge. Large scale drawings of horse and rider immerse the viewer in mounted drills. Drawings incorporating dynamically hewn visions offer both gestural grace and fluidity. Atmospheric considerations couple with the psychologically compelling faces of focused riders in helmets and colonial-era uniforms. A simple fly mask obscuring the eyes of one horse offers a guarded sense of mystery. Other works convey the timely and collectively repetitive motions of cavalry drills that are over 100 years old. The show serves to honor the historical significance of the horse and rider relationship.

Ival’s personal experience as a trooper and troop historian for two years in the Horse Guard provides the underlying narrative informing each drawing. In her late fifties, Ival successfully convinced a Vietnam-era drill sergeant of her desire and ability to earn her spurs and ride with the troop in active duty. The drawings document this modern day period of cavalry life. As an artist with a lifelong love of horses, Ival was able to transform her journey as a trooper into images of both her immediate impressions and overall life experiences. The images fit tightly within formal boundaries of intense, and, in some cases, mural-sized renderings.

“Daumier comes to mind when viewing her campaign-hat-clad troopers,” commented Professor Ed Smith of Marist University when reviewing Ival’s work during his residency at Vermont Studio Center. Professor Sydney Hurtwitz, formerly Dean of Boston University CFA, in awarding Ival first prize in drawing at the South Shore Art Center Juried Exhibition in Scituate, Massachusetts, commented on the strength and power of her drawings. And, as both mentor and instructor, WCSU Professor Margaret Grimes influenced Ival during her MFA program as she became the very first graduate in January 2002.

Humans have depended on horses for thousands of years. The power of that special relationship and bond shines through in Ival’s work.


Ival Stratford-Kovner, MS, MFA Ival Stratford-Kovner earned her MFA at Western Connecticut University and her BFA from Boston University College of Fine Arts, where she studied with noted artists Philip Guston, Harold Tovish, and David Aronson. Ival has exhibited her work at numerous galleries and institutions, including Blue Mountain, Mobius, TremontSix, and Boston University Galleries, Oxford University, Wellesley College, and Harvard Medical School. She has been the recipient of several exhibition awards, including Best in Show at Boston City Hall 1996. Residencies and fellowships include: four fellowships in recent years at Vermont Studio Center; Massachusetts College of Art Faculty Residency; Bentley College Artist Residency; International Sister Cities Artist-in-Residence in San Diego; Sister City Exchange Artist Boston/Strasbourg, France; NEA Grant Recipient; and Massachusetts Cultural Council artist grants. Americans for the Arts Nashville Conference featured her work related to the Twin Towers in 2002 as well as additional works at Society of Illustrators in New York. Ival was a DeCordova Museum School instructor for ten years and taught at Rivier, Bunker Hill and Newbury Colleges. Each spring, Ival conducts a painting workshop for cancer survivors at Stowe Days of Hope in Stowe, Vermont. Ival has been featured in articles in the Boston Globe and Arts New England. She does most of her work in her studio in a converted barn in Bethel, Connecticut.

Article about the exhibition: http://www.newstimes.com/local/article/Horse-Drawn-2nd-Horse-Guard-through-an-1471345.php