Monday, July 20, 2009

Frog Pond

Walking around the rim of the pond tonight I counted 9 frogs. Now and then I heard a vrump and a ribbit that gave away the presence of other frogs under the rocks.

Is there a Maine aesthetic that can be sussed out, even in the work of artists who live far away? Were they born here? Did they spend time at Skowhegan, or simply dip a toe in the waters of some summer camp at Pemadumcook Lake? I think the experience of place is indelibly imprinted in an artist’s work no matter how far she may roam. And I don’t believe you have to be born here to be inoculated with the germ.

The giveaway in an artist’s work could be the green-orange matrix operative in his paintings. It could be the love of water, because you’ll never die of thirst in Maine. It could be the certain light that inhabits Alex Katz’s paintings. It could be that it’s always landscape bound. We have more landscape here than anything else, and so even abstraction, for instance the complexity of line in Fred Lynch and Anna Hepler’s drawings, is derived from the confusion of natural phenomena that we see around us every day. If you’ve read this far, I’d really like to know your thoughts on the subject, and whether there are other operative motivations than landscape.

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