|Melanie Brown’s "Song Path" is currently on display in the Fermilab Art Gallery.|
Humans have painted landscapes for centuries, transporting the viewer into a scene or drawing out of the scene remarkable qualities that are often not immediately apparent.
The paintings currently on display in the Fermilab Art Gallery exhibit impressive features of landscapes as understood through the senses, memories and imaginations of three artists. A reception for the artists featured in “Imagined Landscapes” takes place on Friday, Dec. 12, at 5 p.m. in the gallery.
Chicago artist Melanie Brown paints her acrylic landscapes with some element of improvisation, she said. In some, she responds to the material she works with, and in others, she reacts to a piece of music, the "Song Path Project" by Ryan Ingebretsen, that itself incorporates the natural sounds of a Minnesota landscape.
“You can hear the shape of the land in that piece,” Brown said. “When I’m painting, it’s similar: The painting becomes a landscape, but I’m not trying to capture one particular scene. It’s more of an arriving. Each landscape has its own life in relation to how the image is built.”
In Suzanne Keith Loechl‘s series titled “Earth” and “Unseen,” layers of paint convey landscapes’ rich histories — layers of growth, decay and renewal in a single plot of land.
“Like people, the landscape reinvents itself,” Loechl said in an artist statement. “It heals when it’s wounded, but sometimes it scars for life. Elements of the whole are nurtured or rubbed away.”
Washes of color and shape — sometimes distinct from each other, sometimes blurred — in the landscapes of Chicagoland artist Julian E. Williams Jr. reflect an imagining of landscapes whose real-life details are lost to the overall impression made by the scene.
“For me, painting this way allows for interesting ambiguities that don’t occur as when painting on location or from photographs,” Williams said in a statement. “The results are veils of transparencies against various opacities, which eventually appear in an ethereal, meditative sort of space.”
You can meet the artists in an artist talk in the gallery on Wednesday, Dec. 17, at noon.