Monday, January 4, 2010

Kenneth Gordon, Hay Stacks

It seems easy to be an impressionistic landscape painter. Nature lends itself to being interpreted by artists on their own terms. But, its quite a different story when it comes to painting the human landscape. You can only bend, buildings, and streets so much before distortion creates visual discordance.

In Haystacks, we find Kenneth Gordon taking a commonplace country scene and using its basic elements to his advantage.

Look at the one, elongated, lower cloud that crosses the canvas. It's gently bent,indeed, almost rounded, as it points towards the horizon.

The woodlot on the right, moves relentlessly up the field, in the same direction as the shorn rows of wheat on the left. And if you look carefully, the line of trees is narrow, so narrow in fact, that it looks almost like a moving column of trees. And, his subject, the hay stacks are contained in the middle zone and this creates a sense of everything relentlessly forward.

Gordon furthers this sense of movement with his shorn rows on the left side of his work, undulating in gently curving lines, and his hay stacks appear to be gently contoured and shaped by the wind.

Its these little things which turn an ordinary scene into an extraordinary painting.

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