MY RECENT LANDSCAPES
The hillside behind my Woodstock studio is an inauspicious motif; it's a modest forest of ash, hemlock, and pine of differing sizes, some slender, some wide, most tall—some rocks, a few large … sculpture-like, most small: things happen there—the light changes, now luminous, now stark, trees lean on other trees; trees fall and become skeletons of calligraphic lines. In the late afternoon sunsets light up the hillside, the vanishing light radiating hot pink and azure blue and a myriad of tones until the fall of darkness. Simple as the motif is it cannot be known—at least not by me. This small area—a microcosm—is as hard to possess as is a human form, and as difficult to know, in certainty. This is its fascination. I have worked on this motif on and off for nearly a decade and I cannot grasp its infinite complexities. I have painted it—looking out from three large windows in the back of my studio space—in all seasons. My approach is not perceptual; I am not trying to paint what I see but rather to evoke the mystery of what is there by means of a structure and color and line that exist parallel to nature. I want a respite now from using line as I have in my studio interiors, cityscapes, still lifes, portraits, and figures—to describe appearances. I hope that in these recent landscapes the question of whether they are realistic or abstract is irrelevant. I am here to compose paintings that are free, alive— meditations—and not to use line, as I have in the past, to enclose: I use color in patch-like juxtapositions, derived from Cezanne's color modulations—to create structure—so that the whole will burst forth from the line without boundaries, so that in its changeableness it forms an image like no other.