Field Visions

Artists on view:
Riley Brewster
Jennifer Caine
Matt Hufford
Masako Kamiya
Wilhelm Neusser
Anthony Palocci
Stephanie Pierce
Samnang Riebe
Sarah Stewart
Michael Zachary

Field Visions explores the possibilities of landscape – specifically, how abstraction, metaphor, and materiality are leveraged to open up these possibilities, and in doing so, render nature into an abstraction that becomes landscape. While each artist propels their unique poetic visions through an established genre, they also push material and the fiction outward, tree-like, proving that the field of landscape painting is not only pliable but expansive, and imagination is constantly unfolding and inventing new spaces.

For any painter, the assumption of the field must eventually be addressed. While the picture plane isn’t always front and center in the pretense of the painting, it is always front and center. It is an area where transformation is wrought. For some painters, this space is narrative; for others, referential – but for all artists, this field is what hedges in their creative energies and allows them the freedom to give it shape.

The field of landscape is rich with metaphoric possibilities. It is a space for cultivation, for battle, for death and rebirth. It implies transformation, as the artist reconstructs material into something greater than its original state. Consider the bronze shield of Achilles – the blacksmith portrays life in wartime contrasted with life in peace. It is a field within a field; a story within a story. Not only are battles won and lost in these fields, but plowmen furrow their rows and reap their harvests, lovers pluck and feed each other grapes, and dogs protect their herd from the lions that stalk them. These featured artists are working in their own fields – spaces serving as canvas for the human drama and narrative conflict, as well as a reminder that we are simultaneously above the field and also within it.

In these landscapes, conflict plays out with nature. In one work, harvests are gathered against the rigorous and indifferent seasonal change; in another, the regularity of the tides marks the force of seasonal change itself. For other artists, the conflict lies within. Whether rummaging through memory or struggling to make the emotive sensate, these artists search for something inherently non-visual, layering mark over mark and color over color in an attempt to find it. For others still, conflict lies in the unseen. The fear of the unseen brings more fear – who is lurking just over the horizon? What are their intentions? Is there a future in this landscape? Will nature be benevolent? Will we be benevolent?

Matt Murphy, Curator


Boston Globe
Boston Art Review
Daily Free Press