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.”
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.