TODD CARPENTER

 

The Sky Turns About the Earth 8”x 12 Oil on Panel

ARTIST STATEMENT

With this series I continue to explore how the depiction of light can convey the feel of a landscape. The paintings in this exhibition are generally not representations of particular places or of the individual elements that comprise them, but rather attempts to capture what it might be like to experience those places.

In order to convey the sense of a landscape, I strive for a certain aspect of realism, though it is an inaccurate realism, negligent of proper detail while intent on features that give a painting depth. I am trying to depict dimension, to enable the viewer to imagine being in the real scene, and one reason why I paint in black and white is that it is suited for this portrayal of depth. Black and white make dark and light, the shadow and shading that define dimensionality. The brain uses features such as contrast and gradients - the details of illumination - to determine what is close or far, or round or sharp, and does so without the use of color. Color hue is useful for distinguishing particular things, but black and white is all we require to understand shapes and spatial arrangements. By painting in monochrome, I am focusing on the ways in which light imparts depth and realism to a landscape.

Through the shadows and haze that tell us about a space, light also carries the mood of the place, and it is this that I ultimately try to convey. I want to capture in paint the solitary glint, breaking through at the limits of a view to remind us of the distance that separates us from civilization; or to make record of a shadow, lingering secretly in the shade, as dim proof of the limitless depth of darkness. I want to paint a scene nearly recognized from a forgotten dream, or the invisible atmosphere that hangs above the aura of the imagined. These paintings are places to direct emotion, backdrops to an unrecognizable play, and stages onto which to walk fantasies and fears.

In pursuit of the the feel of landscapes, I find myself moving increasingly towards the surreal nature that sometime arises unexpectedly from my emphasis on light. Consequentially, though these works still wear traces of the particulars that inspired them, and their atmospheres are accented with the breath of cities and forests encountered on travels abroad, ultimately they portray places more foreign than merely being overseas. They are shadows traced by a different light, one with rays running parallel to that which we know as real

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CRAIGHEAD GREEN GALLERY
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