Three Landscape Painters Who Project Their Inner Lives Onto Nature

Karen Kedmey
Apr 17, 2015 2:08PM

This spring, Garvey | Simon Art Access fills the walls with landscapes of all kinds, depicting all seasons, for a three-artist exhibition called “In Through the Outdoors.” Though each of the artists featured—Ray Kass, Alan Bray, and Keiji Shinohara—takes a distinct approach to translating their natural surroundings into art, all three allow abstraction and imagination to shape their compositions, reflecting not only what they see outside but also their innermost selves.

The exhibition includes a suite of new mixed media paintings on paper by Ray Kass. They feature subtly differentiated, overlapping forms painted entirely in shades of red. Though they appear abstract, they are based upon his closely observed sketches of plants and flowers. The artist has long been inspired by the flora he observes in what he describes as his “favorite locations in North Carolina, California, Maine, New Hampshire, and Virginia.” For him, abstraction is the truest expression of the vitality of nature, “and attempt to represent the processes of nature at work rather than pictorial description.”

Ghost, 2014
Garvey | Simon Art Access

Alan Bray’s paintings of the varied landscape of central Maine are, on the other hand, representational. But they are never simply faithful records of what he sees. Flattened, stilled, and often presented from unexpected angles, his landscapes are a combination of reality and his imaginative responses to it. He is particularly interested in the subtle ways in which man encroaches upon seemingly untouched, wild places. People do not appear in his work, but evidence of their presence does. As he puts it, “I am particularly interested in the changes wrought by agriculture and forestry, the geometry of working up against the edge of the wild places.”

Keiji Shinohara’s woodblock prints—which derive from his 10-year apprenticeship to one of Japan’s master woodblock printmakers—are poetic meditations on light, color, and form. Ranging from largely abstract to mostly representational, they reflect his interest in capturing the essence of the beauty and wonder of the natural world. “Almost always my images are of nature, but it is the essence of the landscape that I want to express, not realistic accuracy,” he says, an approach shared by his fellow artists in this richly varied exhibition.

Karen Kedmey

In Through the Outdoors: Kass, Bray, Shinohara” is on view at Garvey | Simon Art Access, New York, Mar. 19–Apr. 25, 2015.

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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019