| LANDSCAPE REALISM|
The images in my paintings are intensely realistic, or so they seem. In fact, the paintings aren’t as realistic as they seem. The representational descriptions are somewhat apart from purely analogical imagery( the visual field we see when we look at the world), this adding to the expressive content. A significant part of the look is the result of the laborious process. The paintings are not the execution of an a priori image, or an academic process; rather, the painting imagery is sought and discovered, and only realized after the painting is completed. Often the completed work is not realized until several days after the work is completed.
I cheat. I use devices that enhance the appearance of the realism, that are not actually that real. These devices do, however, give the subject the appearance of being more real, when in many cases the image is actually less real.
The landscape imagery becomes intertwined with the visual language. The shape of a tree, a stand of trees, cloud shapes, all exist as shape while also representing landscape material. Also, landscape material adds empathy to illustionistic space; we feel for the space, as we project ourselves into the space, an act that mammals have been doing for millions of years, a projection enhanced by stereoscopic vision and the image-making capacityies of the mind. We normally enter 3D space with our eyes before entering with our bodies, sensing the space, experiencing the space, its features and qualities. Again, we feel the landscape; we feel the ground, the air, the light, etc.
We can think that a landscape painting has something to do with the actual landscape, but not as much as we may think. A painting of a landscape actually has more in common with an abstract painting than it has in common with an actual landscape. The language of painting, developing imagery on a flat painting surface, is it’s own language. Creating an image that looks like or resembles some part of the world around us, normally uses the standard of the photograph. From our youth we are presented with photographs in books, newspapers, magazines and snapshots, all reinforcing a standard for realistic images on a flat surface. So when someone says an image is realistic or looks real, it usually means it is like a photograph.
The landscape language is a language familiar to all, a language to which all respond. At the center of the language are spatial phenomena, shapes, patterns and other visual elements, all relating to one another. My paintings present space, both real and illusionistic, and through this space the viewer is engaged in a universal language. The landscape adds flavor to the imagery, from our experiences and from our spatial mechanisms, sight foremost. As we connect with an environment, our experience shapes our responses to the imagery. Water, grass, trees, distant horizons, and skies all are familiar and, as a result, engage the viewer. The artist can use combinations of the familiar to create the fresh and new, leading us to experience something familiar in an entirely new way, reaching beyond the obvious image, to dimensions inside us, unexpressed, but connected to our being.
More to come.