David A. Sear
Swamps and wetlands have recently occupied my visual consciousness. As a source of inspiration, these places are good vehicles to explore my interest in light, both natural and supernatural. As the trees reach out of the waters, they create a rhythm through the picture plane. We may view these as places of renewal, cleansing, and refuge. Or, as eerily charged, dark zones where Faustian deals are struck, such as in a Washington Irving story. Agricultural fields and farms, often working in close connection to their watersheds, remain a thematic priority and close proximation to these new explorations.
Most of my artistic output over the past twenty years has involved landscape. Three primary areas of study have developed: riverscapes, agricultural landscape, and local industrial scenes. While the imagery grows out of my desire to express a regional dialect, explorations of harmony between the natural and manmade worlds are at the heart of what I’m trying to achieve.
Landscape also speaks to our tendency to equate the natural world to a higher power. I use light, color, harmonic ratios, and numerical groupings (3’s and 7’s in particular) that further allows balance in exploring this idea.
I incorporate the Golden Section quite frequently in my compositions. The Golden Section is a mathematical ratio usually ascribed to the ancient Greeks who used it to define their pursuit of the Perfect Ideal. I find the harmonic proportions that relate to nature to be quite compelling. I prefer to use the rectangle, flip it on itself, and use its ratios to align elements in my compositions.
Most of my agricultural landscapes involve juxtapositions between the natural (sky, tree stands) and manmade (agricultural fields, farm structures) worlds. In studying this balance, I also compare the “century farm” to the small industrial complex that is the center of the farm today.
The riverscapes focus on the power of natural elements. I like to think of my approach as infusing them with an almost super natural property. While river imagery in general is steeped in metaphoric depth, my personal relationship is specifically with the Mississippi River from the area where I was raised.
© 2018-19 David A. Sear