Flowing through these two series of pictures that seem so different from one another is an ongoing meditation on our relationship to nature, a concern among modern landscape painters that reaches as far back as the early 19th century. The first comprises box-like, horizontally oriented images—the artist says they were inspired by a four foot hedge near his Cambridge studio—whose pencil and watercolor markings, deliberate on the one hand and impulsive on the other, summon a vision of nature domesticated yet restless. And above all physical, as evidenced by the punctures, tears, and ruptures in the paintings’ paper supports—painful reminders, visually and viscerally, that however obdurate nature may be, she remains vulnerable, too.
From the physical world of the punctured and torn pictures, we’re transported to the ethereal world of the recent work—18 paintings on square wood panels, each softly brushed with color, then sprinkled with an evenly distributed and quietly shimmering layer of aluminum foil pellets. Nature here is disembodied, glimpsed in crepuscular moments when space and light appear and vanish in the blink of an eye, as if by magic—when we as beholders in turn feel disembodied, as if our physicality has become absorbed in the artist’s meditation on nature’s wonders. You might say we’ve been transported from John Constable to Casper David Friedrich.
Carl Belz, Director Emeritus
Rose Art Museum