My current series of paintings, “In Nature,” examines the natural world and how people relate to it. Through my work, I aim to express the timeless experience of being in nature and how we see it individually, collectively, and culturally. When I paint a landscape, I examine my own relationship with the natural world and the ways in which I view and choose to depict it. I must reconcile society’s cultural mediation of my view of natural environments with my own estimation of them. I have found that the act of looking at and viewing a landscape, whether in the form of a painted representation or in person, is as much a personal experience that is specific to the individual as it is collectively universal within a given society and culture. Through my work, I attempt to evoke the sense of being in nature.
The paintings in this series fall into two categories: paintings tied to specific landscape locations and more general depictions of the natural world that utilize atmospheric effects and various landscape elements to evoke the feeling of being in nature. Collectively, my series serves as a bridge between humanity and true nature by evoking the experience of viewing the natural world through painted representation. By joining together images that are derived directly from nature with ones that are constructed based on the idea of nature, I convey the subjective character of our relationship with nature and the intersection between the representation and the embodiment of nature in art.
The move from painting place-based landscapes to composing my own unique images of nature reflects the cultural practice of converting visions of the natural world into pictorial representations that embody the ways in which society and the individual view nature. In Western society and culture, nature is as much of an idea in the mind as it is a physical reality with certain clearly denoted characteristics. It has the ability to leaves a lasting impression on its viewer. By evoking the look and feel of the natural world in painting, I aim to draw attention to the fact that nature is still relevant to and a fundamental part of Western society and culture. The process of making these paintings has shown me that art can function as a parallel reality to the natural world. Though they are painted representations of the physical world, they have the power to touch upon the evocative qualities of nature itself.