L A N D S C A P E & B E Y O N D
|Horse Rain Clouds by Gregory Hardy|
Doug Smith Gregory Hardy & Mark England
· Landscape as a conceptual problem of perspective.
· Landscape as an endless reciprocal drama, exploring how objects are situated in space, how they move around, how they interact with human bodies, how they may be used and interpreted.
· landscape as a rational field exploring all boundaries between subject and surroundings.
|Vibrant Valley by Doug Smith|
Doug Smith’s paintings challenge the limits of representation. A certain consciousness about the tradition of the genre as well as the will to dismantle it exists in his work. Taking both realism and abstraction into his work, Doug achieves a combination that evokes the enduring themes of the landscape of the American West.
Landscape is a language: through it, humans share experience with future generations. Our ancestors inscribed their values and beliefs in the landscapes leaving as a legacy, a rich lode of natural and cultural histories. Doug’s pieces illustrate this with his exquisitely rendered farms, homesteads and houses in the landscape.
His pieces also show us how landscape is interesting because it has a double identity. It is both a domain and scenery. Domain is a place or region and scenery is an aesthetic of space. We look at these farms and they are a place, yet they sit in an aesthetic of space.
G R E G O R Y H A R D Y
|Heart of Summer by Gregory Hardy|
Greg Approaches landscape from the purest point of view, without irony. Greg’s paintings are characterized by a powerful sense of place and time, translated into loaded surfaces, full throttle color and an urgent touch that seems like a graph of passionate feelings. For all of Hardy’s hard-learned facility, his paintings are edgy pictures, slightly uncomfortable or deliberately awkward in ways that make the viewer pay that much more attention to just what the painter has done instead of simply recognizing the image. Despite his apparent fidelity to specific places, longer acquaintance with Hardy’s pictures reveals his willingness to compress and tilt space, elide the middle distance, exaggerate things in the foreground.
Mark England’s almost overdeveloped sense of landscape, Deals with Lines drawn between self and society, inside and outside. Rather than trying for that ever-elusive glimpse of a landscape or history in its purity, Mark chooses to paint the perceptions and impositions between us and a place we cannot know. England. Exploring how objects are situated in space, how they move around, how they interact with human bodies, how they may be used and interpreted is one of Mark’s fortes.
ROAD MAP TO MARK ENGLAND’S PAINTINGS
1. The potted plants and catci represent how we try to contain nature and mold it into things we see as aesthetically pleasing.
2. As with many things in Mark’s paintings, the powerlines exist on a visual and functional level. Mark is a very Linear person and he loves to draw, The lines are a beauty not considered. They also represent lines of communication and broken lines of communication and crossed wires.
3. The Spiral Jetty appears repeatedly throughout Mark’s work.
4. A reference to Richard Serra’s work- an art reference, but also a reference to the earth.
5. The redwood trees of California
6. A reference to still life paintings
7. Checkerboard- A reference to the Mason Dixon Line and the integration of black and white.
8. 8. Great Lakes
9. A reference to Domino Theory: you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.
A few more interesting tidbits:
· The papers flying up into the sky are elements of revelation. Again we have a communication element. Are they heard or are they scattered and lost?
· The potted tree here is also a religious reference. The Tree of Life is prickly and difficult. Mark is questioning religious iconography and how we always veil it or add an aesthetic layer, so it becomes “prettier” something easy to deal with.
· Mattresses appear in and out of his paintings as other veiled oblect references. We spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping on them, yet we rarely see the mattress itself. It’s always covered in sheets. When we do see them, they are usually refuse in the land.
Mark says of his paintings “Actually, all of them are a specific location. I don't do fictional or fantasy art. I have very specific ideas and locations in mind in all my art. Yes, they incorporate a lot of odd objects and distortions, but they are meant to be grounded in place and experience.
The American landscape is cloaked in cultural opacities and cluttered with human debris. I contend that no one with a twentieth-first century eye can see through the layers of artificial meaning and histories we have imposed onto this finally impenetrable continent. So, rather than trying for that ever-elusive glimpse of a landscape or history in its purity, I choose to paint the perceptions and impositions between us and a place we cannot know.
In my paintings of Utah, America, and other continents, I am far more concerned with representing and questioning cultural and visual expectations than with illustrating a scene. In a sense, my paintings and drawings are anthropological; in them, I often dwell on the values, activities, and events of ancient and contemporary cultures, "tracing" the traces they left behind. I am especially intrigued by the events through time that tie seemingly unrelated people and events together in broad cycles: large migrations of people, historic battles, contemporary civilizations inhabiting the remains of ancient buildings, a "promised land" inhabited by many self chosen peoples that either prosper or suffer because of their activities on the land.
All of my work, in some way or another, is about landscape and how we see ourselves through it and impose our values on it. My paintings are both referential and highly interpretive, depicting panoramic views of specific locations. They deal with our perceptions of time, social and environmental history, and tend to look like maps, but my "maps" are not accurate according to cartographic expectations. These are maps of time, culture, dreams, perceptions, the future, and how we wish to see ourselves and our history. They invite the viewer to become lost in them and then to make conscious and intuitive sense of the perceptual environment. I twist perspective, visually and historically. Because of the juxtaposing of unrelated buildings and events, each scene could be hundreds of years in the past, or in the process of being constructed, or in the future after everything has been torn down, destroyed, or worn away. All objects, as well as time, history, memory, and perceptions are present in these paintings. "