The Artists & Images

Wolf Kahn, Deep Purple Landscape

Wolf Kahn’s Deep Purple Landscape (click thumbnail to enlarge) evokes light and shadow as evening settles on a cozy farmhouse nestled in a wooded valley. Above the abiding comfort of the greens and earth hues that enfold the white house, ridge and sky glow in ephemeral blue-violet and orchid. The serenity of the scene is enlivened by Kahn’s exuberant brushstrokes and joyful use of color. The image exemplifies what John Updike meant when he wrote, in the introduction to Wolf Kahn’s America, "Kahn brings the hot, pure color of Abstract Expressionism to an idea of landscape that is tranquil, reflective, and witty."

By focusing on the margins of human experience -- the abandoned American barn -- Kahn reflects a commingling of natural and human syntaxes, an ambiguity of form and color that both obscures and glorifies the painting’s rather humble architectural subject. Louise Finkelstein describes Kahn’s career-spanning focus on the barn as a "realistic" and humanistic response to the mid-century art criticism of Clement Greenberg, who argued for the "historically necessary" dominance of abstract painting.

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Petria Mitchell, Lavender Reflections No. 2

This timeless landscape by Petria Mitchell (click thumbnail to enlarge) presents one of those flashes of breathtaking beauty that eludes the camera and is gone in an instant as the light changes. In depicting a wild yet meditative space, Mitchell contrasts a vibrant lavender sky and its reflection with a dramatic assemblage of dark, natural forms. The result is a composition filled with energy, which cannot help but spark the viewer's imagination.

Mitchell’s canvases have been described as "landscapes of memory," in that they resonate powerfully with viewers’ recollections of specific, yet differing, Vermont vistas. In a sense, her representations are both general and specific, uniting "this place" and "no place" in a harmonious realm of imagined color.

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Tim Allen, Putney Mountain Autumn

Suggestive of a peaceful walk in the forest on a misty October day, Tim Allen’s Putney Mountain Autumn (click thumbnail to enlarge) offers a glimpse into the artist's fascination with the prismatic interplay of trees and sky in the Vermont woods. Two strong birch trunks greet the viewer in the foreground. Behind them, Allen renders the forest canopy with a subtle mosaic of blues and oranges and the tints and mixtures of these complementary colors. Light breaks through the web of tree branches reaching to the sky, giving the illusion of a stained glass window created by nature.

About his work, Allen writes: As I consider the current direction of my painting, I recognize a keen interest in how objects are shaped by their surroundings, both physically and energetically. In my paintings of trees, I see this exploration as twofold: atmosphere being fractured by the presence of tree trunks, branches, and leaves. And the trees themselves being shaped and distorted by the surrounding atmosphere. I love the tension at this boundary; the visual push-pull, the two dimensional dance. In the murk of fog, mist and haze the boundary becomes blurred. Landscape and atmosphere seem to converge, revealing the fact that indeed they are made up of the same substance; different densities, perhaps, but still the same stuff.

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