Vassar's Palmer Gallery presents a solo exhibition entitled SACRED GROUND: Held in Trust that features the work of pastelist Marlene Wiedenbaum, September 27 - October 13, 2012.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Vassar College's James W. Palmer III Gallery will present a solo exhibition by Marlene Wiedenbaum entitled SACRED GROUND: Held in Trust, a selection of pastels from her project that documents preserved lands in the lower Hudson Valley as well as the “intriguing woods of the Catskill Mountains.” This exhibition will be on view from Thursday, September 27, through Sunday, October 13 in the Palmer Gallery located in the College Center of Vassar's historic Main Building. There will be an artist reception on Thursday, September 27, from 5:00-7:00pm. In addition, there will be a panel discussion at 12noon on Wednesday, October 10, on the topic of land preservation. Panel participants will include representatives from Scenic Hudson, Minnewaska Preserve, Olana Partnership, Columbia Land Conservancy, and Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve. All events are free and open to the public.

Marlene Wiedenbaum’s Sacred Ground project evolved, she noted in a statement, as she “became keenly aware of the loss of nature and the diminishing American Landscape” in the Hudson Valley. However, Wiedenbaum said that while she “witnessed damaging changes to the landscape over the years, I have also discovered hallowed grounds, those sacred areas [that are] respected and protected from population (over) growth and the resulting developmental ruin. I am incredibly grateful to the many organizations and very dedicated, insightful people involved in preserving our landscape, particularly in the Hudson Valley.”

Wiedenbaum noted that in collaboration with several organizations including Scenic Hudson, Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Mohonk Preserve, Nature Conservancy. Olana Partnership, and Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve, this exhibition “pays tribute to and supports land preservation and planned development.” She said that she hopes that “through appreciation of the paintings and panel discussions with representatives from the various organizations, the public’s appreciation and understanding of the diminishing landscape, particularly throughout the Hudson Valley in New York will be raised.”

“As a painter of the American Landscape, I am incredibly grateful to the many organizations and the very insightful and dedicated people involved,” Wiedenbaum continued. “It is my goal to essentially ‘pay back’ some of the gifts that Hudson Valley painters and inhabitants have been given over time.”

It has been said that the detailed realism in Wiedenbaum’s work is often perceived as photographic. She began experimenting with pastels to describe dream and emotional states, exhibiting her first series of abstract pastel drawings in a solo exhibition in Poughkeepsie in 1992. Her works today, she said, are still “marks on paper” and reflect her more than 25 years of experience with the medium, in which she has developed a strong signature style that is discernible in her landscapes, still lifes and figurative works.

Wiedenbaum noted that she is “a passionate realist and primarily uses a palette of soft pastels, sanded paper, and a kneaded eraser. For me, the excitement starts when I first discover a subject and decide on a composition. My early years of working in the abstract helped me refine my handling of the medium and sharpen my understanding of shape and form as it manifests in the natural world.” She said that “Describing what I see in a visual language I understand, is a challenging aspect of the process. I am compelled as an artist to reflect the world I live in, to look keenly at my environment, the subjects and objects within it, and present it to the viewer in an engaging way. I am equally excited by the challenges and resolution of each shape, color and form that I face within a painting. Each resolve leads to the next, and just like the treasures of the Hudson River Valley, some are discernible, some are hidden.”

About the Artist

Marlene Wiedenbaum, PSA, is a graduate of Queens College, SUNY New Paltz, and she attended the Arts Students League in New York City. Her award winning paintings have been exhibited internationally, most recently at the 2012 International Pastel Artists Invitational in Taipei, Taiwan. Also this year, shee was selected out of 1500 artists as one of the ten semi-finalists for the prestigious Basil H. Alkazzi Excellence in Painting Awards and in 2010 she was awarded a residency at Platte Clove through The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. In 2009, Wiedenbaum was a featured artist in American Artist magazine. Her painting, Downriver from Potown, was also selected by American Artist magazine for their 2011 calendar.  A signature member of the Pastel Society of America, Wiedenbaum is also an active member of the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum, NAPPAP, NYPAP, Organization of Independent Artists, and LongReachArts.  Her work is in private collections throughout the country and is represented in the tri-state area. Visit her website at

About the James W. Palmer III Gallery

Situated between the North Atrium and the Retreat cafeteria, the James W. Palmer III Gallery is at the heart of the College Center. Constructed in 1996, the gallery was named and endowed by the Palmer family in 2000 in memory of their son James, a member of the class of 1990. Serving as an exhibition space for artwork created within and beyond the Vassar community, the gallery displays art of diverse mediums, themes, and origins.  

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (

Vassar is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, and directions to the campus can be found at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, September 12, 2012