We are installing a booth that demonstrates the various ways contemporary artists approach the landscape. We done this by displaying the work of Elizabeth Patterson, José Basso, and William Nichols. The radically different techniques of these artists are apparent when looking at their final compositions, however certain similarities also present themselves. Most striking is how competently each artist straddles the line between abstraction and realism. In a different way, they each use abstraction as a tool to accomplish their final composition. Each of these artists also demonstrates prodigious technical ability without making their prowess the focus of the piece.
Elizabeth Patterson's technique in colored pencils is nearly unparalleled. Her rainy windows and soft focus distort the subject while preserving the smallest seed of information necessary to place the viewer inside the composition. She travels constantly chasing storms and has been know to cancel trips due to good weather.
In a different approach, José Basso’s paintings could easily devolve into color fields simply by removing one or two basic figurative elements. Basso has spent the last 50 years eliminating what is unnecessary and instead has focused on revealing the primary characteristics inherent in the natural world.
William Nichols long career was celebrated with a one man show at The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown Ohio. His earliest works were pure Abstraction. Nichols still applies those early lessons as each painting is composed of thousands of translucent strokes. To examine his work up close is to see the apparently loose approach of his brush work, but to see his paintings at a distance is to appreciate his almost photographic representation of nature.