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Personal Paradise: Contemporary Perspectives on Landscape Painting

September 11, 2009 - December 6, 2009

Showcasing four artists who create landscape works as an avenue to express very personal connections to nature, Personal Paradise will feature renowned rancher-cattleman artist from Montana, Theodore Waddell; American Indian artist Kay WalkingStickEric Pérez from Mexico; and Argentinean Julia Fernandez-Pol. Each artist brings a dramatically different personal perspective to their portrayals of the natural world, but their shared value of the land unites them thematically.

An interesting juxtaposition of contemporary landscape paintings, the works of Pérez, WalkingStick, Waddell, and Fernandez-Pol portray the natural world in radically different ways, making a thought-provoking and visually engaging exhibition.

Pérez’s realist paintings are enigmatic works that take the viewer on a journey of exploration to a world of dreams, history, literature and self-reflection. WalkingStick’s diptychs, which combine representational, abstract and Native American imagery, embrace the literal and symbolic dualities of life: the spiritual and physical self; birth and death; the artist’s mixed Native American (Cherokee and Winnebago) and Anglo origin.

Rancher-cattleman artist Waddell’s works capture a great reverence and respect for the animals that populate the land, in a style that challenges traditional ‘cowboy and Indian’ images of the American West. His paintings delve into abstraction, with a distinctive style reminiscent of the Impressionist treatment of light and Abstract Expressionist scale and manipulation of paint.

Fernandez-Pol completely transforms the nature she contemplates into lusciously painted abstract landscapes. She depicts the natural world as if seen through a microscope or kaleidoscope, allowing the viewer to experience the most basic elements of nature — color, texture, and form.

Together, these artists exemplify a new era in the landscape painting tradition, creating works uniquely shaped by their own personal experiences, diverse cultural backgrounds and stylistic methods. Pérez, WalkingStick, Waddell and Fernandez-Pol share a creative approach that goes beyond depicting a beautiful scene. Exhibit curator Tariana Navas-Nieves says, “Their artworks are as much about the artists themselves as about the outside world. In their hands, nature becomes a form of self-portraiture, represented as a natural landscape and a landscape of self — a personal paradise.”