The Holy Trinity of Santa Fe Landscape Painting: JOHN FINCHER, WOODY GWYN & FORREST MOSES July 19 - September 1. 2013 The appellation of “holy trinity” to describe John Fincher, Woody Gwyn and Forrest Moses was coined by art writer and former museum executive John O’Hern in a 2011 article for the magazine. He celebrated these three major figures of American landscape painting for their differing visual interpretations of the beauty of the world surrounding them. Although the term “holy trinity” is tongue-in-cheek hyperbole—and more sacerdotal than art critical—there is fitting pertinence here in a major exhibition of new work by each in its application to the extraordinary talent of these three venerated painters. Each in his particular manner redefines ways of looking at the landscape, its protean vistas and emblematic details. Although painting style and subject matter vary enormously among the three, there is a remarkable consistency in the intensity of engagement and fascination from the visual encounter with the work of each. With distinctive techniques and points of view about how to express his own experience of place, each artist excels in connecting image and cognition to prime the emotions. The result is the widely-held respect underlying the apt if slightly apocryphal anointment of these three as a kind of “holy trinity.” The pictorial strategy of each artist is quite different from what has in past times defined the ideal of landscape painting. All three privilege creative imagination over verisimilitude. Even in the precise realism of Gwyn’s detailed vistas, his canny use of unconventional perspective, ingenious light and unexpected relationships between compositional elements, elevates humble settings to breathtaking experiences. Moses’ deft, often reductive series of brushstrokes and color tracts powerfully ignite memory and emotion as deep and intense as his own feelings for the woods, ponds and streams that inspire him. Fincher has the eye of a sage, seeing in small details of Western landscape—as unassuming as cactus spines and poplar trees—the timeless and enduring strength, integrity and rustic beauty that have come to signify a powerful aspect of the American character. All three of these remarkable artists are at the pinnacle of their painting careers. Together they represent some of the finest innovative visual conceptions in the long history of landscape painting. The “Holy Trinity” celebrates the unique contribution by each to this genre and the enlivening energy their work resonates in combination.
The art of John Fincher distills the vastness of the American West into compositions of unassuming components that celebrate the land of opportunity and individual spirit. He plucks details of the West and infuses them with such vivacity of color and form that they become nearly iconic in their capacity to evince mythic meaning that subtly references the transformation of the Wild Frontier into the symbol of the American character. Fincher’s paintings are snapshots—candids, magnifications, celebrations—of the cactus, trees, fences, and other fragments that make up the complex beauty of the American West. Fincher’s genius—his nuanced sense for contrasting color and interplay between small and large, mundane and mythic—imbues his canvases with a sense of delight and reverence. There is an authorial integrity, both in his paring down of a majestic landscape to common details and in his audacious use of electric color and vivid shadowing, that imparts a sense of the energy and optimism as-
Published on Jul 15, 2013
This is the first show with the three venerated landscape painters known as The Holy Trinity, John Fincher, Woody Gwyn and Forrest Moses. Th...