As a painter I feel that things have come full circle of late (or maybe I’m just finishing another lap). I grew up in Rapid City, SD and that tether to the natural surroundings; that foundation found in spaces and places is something I’ve always known. In so far as I paint, landscape is the primary subject of my work, but in a deeper vein, our (human) imprint on and interaction with the land is a reoccurring, if not consistent, theme.
After graduating from St John’s University I was more than content to chase after the intriguing compositions of shape, line, and color that present themselves effortlessly in any urban environment. Such images of opportunity could occupy anyone in possession brushes and canvases (and an eye for that sort of thing) quite happily and quite endlessly. But being an ardent observer of your surroundings eventually leads you to something beneath the veneer. That something may be closer to structure or spirit, meaning or message, but the interconnections between things start to surface and you see both your subject and your work from a new perspective.
For me the consideration and execution of landscape as subject has generally been sans figure yet rife with evidence of human activity. I used to think of that as incidental, but as I create new and more intimate views of the areas that you and I occupy, there is revealed a continuum rather than a coincidence in the absence of humans. Disregard, trivialization, abandonment, and exploitation are all words that describe our relationship with our natural surroundings. The ground on which we stand, however, requires more from us than we let ourselves believe: more in terms of respect and much more in terms of stewardship. The land and water that sustains us must in turn be matched with sustainable, human enterprise. It’s a little surprising (or maybe not so surprising at all) that what I am now consciously conceptualizing as the basis for my work going forward appears to have been an integral part of my visual expression for some time now. Full circle? Awakening? Epiphany. Purpose. Best, DT