Sometimes people tell me that my work “looks just like a photograph”. Clearly photography is a tool in my paintbox. I wonder if it’s possible that the hyper-saturated color and high definition we are accustomed to seeing generated by our smart phones transforms what we see with our eyes? Vivid color becomes a visual metaphor for my interior experience. What I think and what I see combine – within my interior self – la que está de adentro – the result is what you see.
A landscape painting is experienced by the painter and the viewer in different ways. Reasonably the two encounters – of painter and viewer – may be two entirely different experiences. The artist’s expression of a landscape can be perceived as more of a collaboration or merging between self and nature which involves both deep thought and physical action. There is the physical action of moving through the actual environment and perceiving the wild variety of sensory experience: sight, sound, temperature, scent, the effort involved in moving through the environment, the need to identify the plants, and sounds, the heightened caution of contact with the wild, thorns everywhere or none at all, wild-life encounters, both benign and otherwise – all of it electrifies the self and at the same time provides a solace, an embrace of the environment that frees and soothes.
Trying to reduce and translate the impact of this experience onto a two-dimensional surface requires that I try to bring as much of my internal experience to that effort as I can. If I am successful, the viewer’s experience is somehow LIKE an experience of nature as seen through another’s eyes.
These days our experience of nature can provoke peripheral anxiety – what will happen? What changes will the future bring to the earth and by extension humanity? Can my experience, and subsequent representation of it, serve to provoke the viewer to pay attention to their own lives, to the world around and beyond them. Where do we exist in these paintings? Are we a part of nature or apart from nature? When I grapple with questions about what our relationship with nature can be going forward, the earth has no response. The world is indifferent to what we think or perceive. When I stand before the wilderness there is only a peaceful loneliness and a very loud silence.
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