In the mid-nineteenth century, Thomas Cole, Fredrick Edwin Church, Asher Durand and Albert Bierstadt were painting dramatic, romantic landscapes of pristine areas in New York and New England. Known as the Hudson River School, they focused on representing and preserving some of the most magnificent natural resources of our country, perhaps in reaction to the environmental degradation caused by the Industrial Revolution and the social upheaval of the Civil War. They were active in the movement that led to the creation of the national park system and were among the founders of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
A hundred years later, another more stylistically diverse group began moving away from Representation and Impressionism into Abstraction. In a Post-War America, these artists reacted to new thinking about the human psyche as well as the dueling artistic threads of individual expression and the materiality and process of painting. Richard Diebenkorn was one of these painters. His compositions and forms related to figures, interiors and landscape. He is probably best known for his breath taking "Ocean Park" Series painted in the 1970s and 1980s.
When I begin painting, the first image I create is usually based on a sketch drawn from nature or while observing a Hudson River School painting. This gives me a beginning sense of composition and light. Gradually, a moment emerges when images of Diebenkorn paintings begin to replace the landscapes that dance in my imagination. Many layers of paint are applied and wiped off. Finally, the picture begins to crystallize. It now asserts its own unique identity and story.
While the act of painting is an entirely private affair, the result isn't. I like to show my work. I like to have people respond to it. I am always striving to invite people into an instant of the kind of quiet I treasure. I hope that viewers may find themselves in a momentary, soundless vortex- a space where it is possible to become aware not only of the slumbering messages that dwell deep within, but also the low heartbeat of the surrounding world.
"Light is in the eye, color is in the heart." Joe Kirkup, author, photographer
west branch gallery & sculpture park • 17 towne farm lane • p.o. box 250 • stowe, vermont • 05672 • 802.253.8943
West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park is a contemporary art and sculpture space located on the Mountain Road in Stowe, Vermont
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm, and by appointment • email@example.com