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"Reimagining the Contemporary Landscape"
LewAllen Galleries, Scottsdale, Arizona
Recommendation by Deborah Ross

John Fincher, "Into the Woods," 2013, oil on linen, 40 x 58"

Continuing through March 16, 2014

The nine artists in this group show vary stylistically, and so what the show lacks in cohesiveness it makes up for by challenging the clichés of Western landscapes. Woody Gwyn of New Mexico is represented by two paintings, one of which is “Comanche Gap I,” an oil on linen in which the blurred foreground — multicolored desert scrub as if seen from a moving car — spars for attention with the detailed background consisting of two rocky mounds drenched in that celestial Western sunlight. The work borders on the spiritual and offers an unusual perspective on vastness and beauty.

John Fincher, also of New Mexico, is represented by two vibrantly colored, closely cropped and highly textured works: “Red Clay,” in which bulging white clouds characteristic of the West dominate a strip of red clay; and “Into the Woods,” in which Fincher pares landscape down to its essence by honing in on a thicket of trees that are dappled in light. British artists Boyd & Evans contribute “Canyonlands,” a panoramic, painterly view of Utah’s famous sandstone monoliths, complete with dramatic storm clouds. In this view though, the scene is interrupted by a purple SUV and five shadows of tourists, one of whom holds a camera. It’s an all-too-familiar occurrence in the West, presented here with playful irony. Rounding out these variations on the landscape genre are works by Forrest Moses, Christopher Benson, Bernard Chaet, Daniel Morper, Pedro Surroca and Otto Duecker.

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