Warning: getimagesize(/home/domains/wnightingale.com/docs/cache/generated_images/25ee61d56cf49f5d745e8ded7c3fa975.png) [function.getimagesize]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/domains/wnightingale.com/docs/include/php/Page/class.PageSiteFront.php on line 64
Studying art history changed my perception of landscape and added depth and complexity to my art. As a landscape artist, the places I resided- Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico and now Nebraska- influenced my presentation of the land, while the art historical focus on the interconnected layers of the past allow me to perceive the land as a palimpsest. For example, Nebraska beguiles with peacefully undulating hills, fields, creeks and small towns; yet this is overlaid by a canvas of controversy currently engendered by drought, overgrazing and the XL Keystone pipeline. In addition, the landscape retains traces of historical conflict on the Great Plains between settlers, the U.S. Army and Native Americans.
The work I made in New Mexico focused largely on the layering of time, cultural groups and paths of migration. During the last two years, however, the persistent drought conditions in the southwestern U.S. brought along a new emphasis on environmental concerns in the context of global warming. Extensive wildfires caused the noon sky over Albuquerque to turn red, while the experience of related respiratory distress led me to envision the consequences of continued climate change with a high level of dread. “Flight” gives expression to my envisioning of people leaving New Mexico after the environment becomes uninhabitable. In my piece the original Spanish immigrants, based on Tilman Riemenschneider’s altar figures from around 1500, are seen fleeing the high desert of New Mexico. “Purple Sun” shows the birds take flight in front of ash clouds darkening the sky over desiccated terrain.
After moving to Nebraska the drought experience continued- field after field of corn stalks full of promise withered, watering holes dried up inch by inch leaving bathtub-like rings and cattle wandered in search of forage. Although the patterns on the land were drawn in exquisite shades of gold, the underlying reasons are distressing and alarming