Jennifer M Bryant
Expressions of Landscape
The qualities of my artwork are intended to portray the atmosphere of an environment in a landscape. Beauty is an essential part of my creative process. The spaces are designed from a collaboration of environments I have experienced living and traveling in the Midwestern United States. I am striving to capture mood, temperature as well as a sense of open space.
Artist’s works and beliefs such as Wolf Kahn, Piet Mondrian, and Paul Klee have influenced me. David Sylvester writes about Mondrian in “About Modern Art: Critical Essays 1948-1997”, “…it stretches far beyond its borders so that it seems a fragment of a larger cosmos…by which the distance between points seem measurable in miles.” I am concerned as the impressionists were with translating a sensation into a delicate woven veil of brush marks that seem to go beyond the borders of the surface.
The surfaces are hard and smooth allowing the acrylic paints to flow evenly on the surfaces. Layers are overlapped and reworked until depth can be seen in defused color shimmering through. With color, Wolf Kahn created vivid scenes that excite the senses. He plays with the curves and wisps of natural landscapes and sometimes inserts the angular lines of man-made structures. Kahn experiments with color and season abstractly in his landscapes. He is known to heighten colors that are present in reality to the edge to create the scintillations and vibrations of color. He lets color push through to control the contour and design of the work. Similar to Kahn I am using vibrant colors overlapped by more subdued tones of gray to create a quiet, still atmosphere. The vibrations of colors are visible in the depths of the paintings acting as a diffused light source that reveals the pattern and design of the environment.
A turning point in Paul Klee's career was his visit to Tunisia in 1914. He was so overwhelmed by the intense light there that he wrote: “Color has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it, I know that it has hold of me forever. That is the significance of this blessed moment. Color and I are one. I am a painter.” He then built up compositions of colored squares that had the radiance of the mosaics you could find in Byzantine or Early Christian Art. I find it essential to have color in a painting. When beginning a piece I use vibrant patches of color as an underpainting to map out the environment. This mosaic of colors is the foundation on which the gesture is drawn and the painting completed.
Kahn finds human structures, such as buildings, in his work that create a tension between the front, middle and background. The angular structures create a greater sense of depth as well as a contrasting element of color that can lead the viewer’s eye in and out of the painting. In my work there are gestural white and black marks made that roughly follow the gesture of the landscape. The lines are worked on three planes to create a formal element of depth. Functioning as guidelines they pull in and out of the layered surface as well as break up the space into foreground, middle ground and background. The quality of the lines are in stark contrast to the other elements of the painting not only in color but also by design. In the positioning of the lines the more aggressive markings are juxtaposed against the more subdues fields of color on the surfaces. The lines are angular and abrupt at times, seeming to stretch beyond the picture plane, giving the work a vast feeling of open and closed spaces. The marks are essential to the atmospheric perspective of the paintings.
Atmosphere can be defined in three ways. Atmosphere can be the dominant tone or mood of a work of art. It can also function as the air or climate in a specific place. Lastly, it is described as an envelope surrounding a celestial body, especially the one surrounding the earth. The environments in my paintings are meant communicate mood and temperature. More abstractly the environments are enveloped in the atmosphere I have created. The linear shapes are paths the viewer can use to explore the atmosphere of the painting. The created environments of my paintings strive to capture these three things.