Recently, I have been posting paintings which thematically involve the figure in landscape. This is a fairly dramatic break from my past work which dealt strictly with the landscape. Not only were these former paintings just landscapes, but landscapes devoid of a human presence or apparent influence. I think this calls for a little self-reflection.
The immediate emergence of the figures is my exposure, fascination and overall love of how the old masters employed and dealt with the human figure. Specifically, I am talking about Titian, Rubens, Rafael, Da Vinci and a few others. There was a romantic and heroic portrayal of the figure and how it related to the world that I connected with. I relate to the way the figure and the land in these paintings have a connection that seems part of a material and spiritual whole. Part of this attraction stems from my reaction against a contemporary tendency to rely on cynicism, despair and an overall nihilistic view of the modern, human condition. I share many of these same feelings but I somehow want what I put out into the world to be a bit more beautiful and hopeful. We as human beings have some soul-searching to do as far as our attitudes towards nature, the land and towards each other if we are to advance from our current state. I view these paintings as vignettes into a different world. One that is a bit more humble, connected and reflective as to where we fit in.
I am relying on a classical Western approach to the figure while simultaneously inserting these figures into landscapes that are idealized and very personal. I am not trying to evoke specific places but rather relying on my intuition and visual instincts to create a place that treads a line between the real experiences of being in the land and a more romanticized, imagined dream world that is comforting to travel through. These are places, people and attitudes that hopefully will heal the things that make being alive in the 21st century so difficult. They do that for me.