Landscape painting is the obvious resource of misanthropy.
– William Hazlitt, in The Edinburgh Review, 1824
I consider myself primarily a landscape painter. Oh, I periodically have done some figurative work, some still lifes and even some purely abstract work but I always gravitate back to the landscape. I think the attraction comes from the universality of the landscape as a genre and a visual language. It crosses all barriers and seldom needs context or explanation for anyone to fully understand it. A Maori tribesman might as easily appreciate a landscape such as the painting above as you or me. We all have an intimate relationship, our own dialogue, with the landscape around us. It defines our world.
I tend to think of landscape painting in these terms rather than as William Hazlitt, the British art and literary critic of the 19th century, portrays it in the quote above although maybe there is a certain misanthropy involved on some days. I know that I prefer the company of the landscape over that of most people on many days. I also know that there are collectors who were disappointed when the paths that lead into my paintings began to first appear, feeling that any sign of man in the landscape only diminished the piece. But the paths stayed because I still relate to the landscapes in my paintings as thought they are representative of the human race’s emotional relationship with the land rather than mere pretty pictures of places of a world devoid of humans, as appetizing as that may sound. It comes down to the fact that we are part of the land. We shape it and are shaped by it. We rise from it, live off it and ultimately return to it. We are the landscape.
The painting at the top is Where the Road Ends, a 20″ by 60″ canvas that is part of my show at the Kada Gallery which opens October 20th.