by Deborah Winiarski
Landscape as Art is a fairly recent development in Western Art tradition. Historically, paintings of scenes in nature were relegated to the backdrop of imagined subjects and not considered viable subject matter for painting. The development of visual perspective helped to change this as it allowed artists to create the illusion of depth in space from one particular viewpoint. The possibility of landscape as Art had begun.
Another development particularly important to landscape painting was the development of the paint tube. Finally, artists could take their canvases out-of-doors and paint the world literally around them. It helped make Impressionism possible and sparked fresh interest in landscape. Later, landscapes influenced by Romanticism and Impressionism depicted vast, realistic panoramas whose size and scope reflected the enormity of the scene being painted. Modern times have seen landscape increasingly become a point of departure for work more abstract in character.
The contemporary artists here, all working in the medium of encaustic, offer a broad spectrum of ideals, perspectives and interpretations of landscape reflecting the breadth of its history. Whether imagined, abstract, or realistic, with a land-based, subterranean or aerial perspective, these works resonate with a love of the land and beauty of the environment.
“This unusual horizontal ‘diptych’ is actually a single panel. In the section above is a close-up view of a pine tree. Below it are abstract shapes and words identifying both natural elements and threats to the environment.”
– Mark Lavatelli
“Unit No. 1 is part of a 16-piece collection entitled Underground Settlement. This work illustrates my fascination, not only with the intricately stratified forms of rocks, but also with their metaphorical evocation of human experience.”
– Laura Moriarty
“I work by deconstructing, fragmenting, and abstracting iconic visual cues. These cues are then rebuilt by pulling selected elements to the painting surface with the use of color, form, and texture. The works convey tensions between old and new, solid and void. They evoke gut recognition and an ambiguous sense of place.”
– Cora Jane Glasser
“Observation and interaction with the natural world are crucial for me on a daily basis. Visual meditations turn into notations on place and space, color and pattern. Often I document specific locations through sketching or plein air painting in oil and watercolor. Recurring concepts in my work are impermanence, life cycles, growth and renewal.”
– Christy Diniz Liffmann
“Usually my work connects with the recurring theme of the imagined and internal landscape. The work from this series, Ancestral Memories, were directly inspired by a recent trip to my family’s hometown of Chiaramonte Gulfe in Sicily. Sitting high in the hills, this ancient town has sweeping views of both the mountains and the gulf.”
– Francesca Azzara
“This series of paintings began following a residency at The Hambridge Center in Rabun Gap, Georgia. Immersion in the landscape and the solitude afforded to me allowed for the discovery of this imagery as it relates to my continuing interest in memory and the passage of time.”
– Helen DeRamus
“My work explores the ritual of layering molten wax. I love the sense of the unexpected, the sensation of scent, and the anticipation evoked as I scrape and carve through the wax. I am most interested in marrying image and medium. My imagery is redolent of the meeting of sky, sand, and sea.”
– Cherie Mittenthal
“In my studio practice, I use a broad range of media. When I work with encaustic, it lets me move with a looseness and an immediacy that I can’t get with other paints. It is wonderful for exploring light and luminosity. I like to approach painting with a sense of wonder and spontaneity.”
– Dawn Korman
“I make expressionistic landscapes responding in a painterly way to a specific place and my environmental concerns. I am more interested in painterly abstraction than strict depiction of landscape while maintaining more than a vestige of representation in my work. I work from drawings and photography.”
– Leslie Sobel
“I capture earth’s beauty often missed by our busy lifestyles by combining macro views and overall landscapes. This painting is from a hidden trail hike ending at the Harpeth River in Tennessee. The tree hollow offers an unseen glimpse of the river.”
– Judy Klich