Beyond the horizon, Bob Dylan’s song, is a love song full of longing. It has a vintage feel, a kind of nostalgia, like an old faded postcard from a place visited long ago with someone loved. Landscape has, for as long as I have painted it, seemed to connect with ideas of longing, perhaps because the so-called developed world’s disconnect to the land in so many ways. What with our processed food, our obsession with everything electronic (the so called virtual world), a disconnection with weather and seasons, and an almost mass retreat from real community, it is no wonder that landscape, or real places in the world can be thought of nostalgically. It seems that only the people who have either never taken on this “brave new world”, or those who have opted out of some or all of it, are the ones for whom landscape is less about longing, and more about celebration.
So, I think here we have images to embody many kinds of experience. How one is living their life, where they have traveled, will color their experience of the show. “Beyond the horizon, in Springtime or Fall,” seasons in nature and life affect how we see things.
Dylan, in this song, seems eternally hopeful. His song is hauntingly beautiful. The top prize, Sleeping Bear Dunes, with its velvety tones and romantic wind swept sand and grass, has that kind of beauty. The presentation is right-on, contemporary, with a scale that is large enough to be important, but small enough to stay intimate. The image glows like a Mapplethorpe portrait or flower study.
The second prize, Van Gogh Soars Over The Plains,is exquisitely crafted with lovely simple color, and a deceptively plain humor. It is a very Midwestern image, tongue in cheek in its combination of a painting by Van Gogh (now considered high art), and a homely landscape of the rural Midwest. This landscape is of course a subject Van Gogh might have painted if lived in the Great Plains, as he loved, and lived with, the working class. In this case, however, the control of the media and its cold and straightforward approach is in huge contrast with everything Van Gogh.
Holga images are now very popular, and this is of course a logical response to the potential sterility of digital images. Here the artist combines the two approaches, using a Holga to capture the images, and then processing these digitally. They are presented like a stereoscope with the two images side by side, but these are not the same view. This seems to mirror our experience of bridges as we rarely stay still on them, but are glancing out car windows catching different views each time. The presentation is a sophisticated approach to an overworked theme of utilitarian beauty.
I have very much enjoyed spending time with all of the work both in and out of the show! Being in the company of other artist’s work is a pleasure. I know the time and thought one puts into the work, as an artist and educator, and I do not take it lightly. I want to thank Framations for asking me to jury this show. I am honored.
March 13, 2013