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FREYA GRAND minding the landscape

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FREYA GRAND minding the landscape


FREYA GRAND minding the landscape

national museum of women in the arts ⁄ washington, dc ⁄ 2013


Published in conjunction with Freya Grand: Minding the Landscape, February 1–May 5, 2013, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Washington, DC Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. freyagrand.com Edited by Elizabeth Lynch Photographs by Greg Staley Designed by Helen McNiell, Studio A Printed and bound by Global Printing Typeset in Alright Sans Cover: Tungurahua Opposite title page: Study for Lissadell Rocks (detail)


CONTENTS ⁄

7

Foreword ⁄ Earthbound

11

Artist’s statement ⁄ Painting the Landscape

12 Large paintings 26 Series ⁄ Coast ⁄ Isles ⁄ Sea and Rocks 56 Drawings 64 Additional work 95 Artist’s résumé


work derived from experiences in Ecuador, Peru, Scotland, Ireland, Botswana, and Olympic National Park in Washington State as well as forests near Grand’s childhood home in Madison, Wisconsin. 

FOREWORD ⁄ EARTHBOUND LANDSCAPES BY FREYA GRAND

In Grand’s finished paintings and drawings, waves crash against rocks, clouds rake across mountains, and gnarled trees twist their way toward the sky. In this respect, she is

freya grand (b. 1947) finds the essence of what it means

akin to the European painters and poets of the Romantic

to be human through the earth, the space that the body

era who were thrilled to contemplate the “sublimity” of the

inhabits. Her paintings and drawings are evocations of the

natural world and humankind’s powerlessness against its

exhilaration, wonder, and serenity she experiences when

forces. When hiking high in the Andes mountains, Grand is

she treks to mountain tops, hikes through savannahs, and

at once mesmerized by the vast volcanic formations before

scrambles along rocky beaches in locales far from her

her and gripped by the difficulty of breathing in an environ-

home in Washington, DC. 

ment with so little oxygen. 

After painting spare interior scenes for many years, Grand

During her travels, Grand keeps a diary and makes photo-

turned to landscape painting in 2001. Following the death

graphs, small pencil sketches, and, weather permitting,

of her father, she sought to explore the link between her

watercolors. “I come back from trips with a head full of strong

own emotion and the forces of the natural world, devel-

feelings and impressions that require translation into physical

oping visual expressions that are based in the landscape,

form,” she notes. Her cursory sketches record general outlines

but compellingly allude to the unseen. Grand’s work is

of a scene, but Grand’s paintings—and even her graphite

defined by a raw and penetrating emotion that is uncommon

drawings—are meticulously developed in her studio. 

in landscape painting.  Grand is not compelled to paint travelogue-style views of The connection of the human body with the landscape is

the landscapes she explores. With assured brushstrokes,

constant and inexorable, and when in familiar settings, we

she sets down shapes, volumes, and color—often slightly

do not think much about it. Grand’s travels raise her level

abstracted—and does not pick out botanical or geological

of consciousness about the earth: “Traveling is the act of

details. Moreover, she frequently shields the view of moun-

putting myself in a place where the landscape is overwhelm-

tain peaks and low valleys with clouds and obscures shore-

ing in some way. There’s an emotional charge in a space

lines with mist. Grand’s mastery at rendering clouds reflects

that feels powerful and unfamiliar.” 

her interest in the quixotic nature of weather. Her clouds

The exhibition Freya Grand: Minding the Landscape, on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) from February 1 through May 5, 2013, features

Opposite: Cotopaxi (detail)

8 ⁄9


coast, Grand was kept awake at night by the sound of ocean water coursing over pebbles and, in turn, pebbles tumbling over one another. While mountains are monumental and fixed, shorelines are dynamic and in constant motion. In her small paintings, Grand fastens more details and renders more and vapors are also canny metaphors for the veil of memory

precisely the physics of the earth’s surface. 

and time through which she filters her experience of the landscape. 

Freya Grand’s art invokes her profound experiences with the landscape. Her works also awaken our memories of a

Unlike conventional landscape compositions, which often

silent mountain top, boundless prairie, or pounding surf that

include trees at the left and right edges to frame the distant

clarified our own slight but vital place in the world. 

view in the center, Grand’s paintings are often truncated, with clouds, hills, and outcroppings bluntly bisected by the

Kathryn A. Wat

edges of the canvas. This technique, coupled with Grand’s

Chief Curator

restriction of texture and detail, confounds a clear sense of

National Museum of Women in the Arts

scale: it is often difficult to determine if an image presents

Washington, DC

miles of space or a snippet of turf.  In a number of works included in Grand’s exhibition at NMWA, either land or water fills nearly the entire frame of vision. Grand’s high horizon lines echo those in landscapes within early Italian Renaissance altarpieces, which she greatly admires. The aerial, above-the-clouds vantage point in some works brings to mind historical images such as German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Mist (1818; Kunsthalle, Hamburg), in which a man gazes out over a vast bank of vapor clouds. Grand eschews human figures in her compositions; there can be no intermediary between the viewer and the vision before them.  Grand describes her small paintings on wood panel as interludes between the large canvases, and they do have a different rhythm, with clearer light, a narrower frame of vision, and lyrical rather than muscular brushwork. Many of these smaller oils are seascapes, with crisp-edged boulders, stones, and cliffs. On a trip to County Sligo on Ireland’s western

Opposite: Obstruction Point (detail)


10 ⁄11


We sense the primal nature of rock, the obduracy of a mountain. Forces thrust and push against each other. There is the rush of volumes of moving air and expanses of space. The sensation of time is felt in an obscuring veil of fog. We

ARTIST’S STATEMENT ⁄ PAINTING THE LANDSCAPE

may be terrified by vastness. As humans we embody both darkness and hope and the landscape reflects all of that. The drive to give physical form to these experiences and to be able to convey them is what motivates my work.

in 2001 i realized that the natural world, in all of its relentless beauty, was what I wanted to paint.

The power and beauty of the natural world are precious and inextricably linked to our understanding of what it

The landscape is a potent source of meaning, offering an

means to be human. There is much more out there than

opening into the vastness of the universal. It is my catalyst,

just geography and weather.

triggering a very personal and fundamental recognition. All of us carry our own inner immensity. I have discovered that

Freya Grand

mine is called into being by standing on the rim of a rock and looking outward. Seeking remote places has been an intrinsic first step. I never know what I will find on my journeys but the discoveries initiate a complex chain of associations, the aligning of forms and color, the inquiry that will give life to a body of work. The sensation that I have come to recognize as integral to this process is a feeling of spaciousness, of awe, a kind of rising up of my whole inner being. It is as if something within me is compelled to meet the immensity on its own terms. These landscape paintings have grown out of journeys to places such as the Andes, Ireland, Africa, the Highlands of Scotland. They draw their life partly from reality, yet they are not realistic. As critic Claudia Rousseau has said, “Although descriptive, these works do not reproduce the visual record so much as the experiential one.”

Opposite: Storm (detail)

12 ⁄13


LARGE PAINTINGS ⁄


Tungurahua, 2011, oil on canvas, 48 × 60 inches

16 ⁄17


Glen Etive, 2010, oil on canvas, 48 × 60 inches

18 ⁄19


Obstruction Point, 2011, oil on canvas, 60 × 48 inches

20 ⁄21


Burning Fields, 2009, oil on canvas, 30 Ă— 30 inches

22 â „23


Fog, Benbulben, 2010, oil on canvas, 30 × 30 inches

24 ⁄25


Plume, 2005, oil on canvas, 36 × 36 inches

26 ⁄27


SERIES ⁄ COAST


Sea Foam, 2012, oil on panel, 8 × 8 × 2 inches


Breaker, 2012, oil on panel, 8 × 8 × 2 inches

30 ⁄31


Cloonagh Rocks, 2012, oil on panel, 8 × 8 × 2 inches


Surge, 2012, oil on panel, 8 × 8 × 2 inches

32 ⁄33


Back Wave, 2012, oil on panel, 8 × 8 × 2 inches


Deep, 2012, oil on panel, 8 × 8 × 2 inches

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Rock and Mist, 2012, oil on panel, 8 Ă— 8 Ă— 2 inches


36 ⁄37


SERIES ⁄ ISLES


Isles #1, 2012, oil on panel, 5 × 5 × 2 inches


Isles #2, 2012, oil on panel, 5 × 5 × 2 inches

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Isles #3, 2012, oil on panel, 5 × 5 × 2 inches


Isles #4, 2012, oil on panel, 5 × 5 × 2 inches

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Isles #5, 2012, oil on panel, 5 × 5 × 2 inches


Isles #6, 2012, oil on panel, 5 × 5 × 2 inches

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Isles #7, 2012, oil on panel, 5 × 5 × 2 inches


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SERIES ⁄ SEA AND ROCKS


Sea and Rocks #1, 2011, oil on panel, 6 × 6 × 2 inches


Sea and Rocks #2, 2011, oil on panel, 6 × 6 × 2 inches

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Sea and Rocks #4, 2011, oil on panel, 6 × 6 × 2 inches


Sea and Rocks #5, 2011, oil on panel, 6 × 6 × 2 inches

52 ⁄53


Sea and Rocks #7, 2011, oil on panel, 6 × 6 × 2 inches


Sea and Rocks #10, 2012, oil on panel, 6 × 6 × 2 inches

54 ⁄55


Sea and Rocks #13, 2012, oil on panel, 6 × 6 × 2 inches


56 ⁄57


DRAWINGS ⁄


Study for Pacaya, 2002, graphite on paper, 10 × 9 ₁⁄⁴ inches Study for Slope, 2005, graphite on paper, 8 × 7 ₁⁄₂ inches


Study for Cotopaxi, 2006, graphite on paper, 8 × 7 ₁⁄⁴ inches Study for Wave, 2007, graphite on paper, 8 × 7 ₁⁄⁴ inches 60 ⁄61


Study for Selinda, 2009, graphite on paper, 8 × 7 ₁⁄⁴ inches Study for Burning Fields, 2009, graphite on paper, 9 × 9 ₁⁄⁴ inches


Study for Cloonagh, 2010, graphite on paper, 8 ₁⁄⁴ × 10 ₁⁄⁴ inches Study for Fossil Beach, 2010, graphite on paper, 8 ₃⁄⁴ × 10 inches 62 ⁄63


Study for Obstruction Point, 2011, graphite on paper, 13 ₁⁄⁴ × 10 ₁⁄₂ inches Study for Volcano, 2011, graphite on paper, 14 × 10 ₁⁄₂ inches


Study for My Father’s Woods, 2012, graphite on paper, 7 ₁⁄₂ × 9 3⁄₄ inches Study for Lissadell Rocks, 2012, graphite on paper, 10 ₁⁄⁴ × 11 3⁄₄ inches

64 ⁄65


ADDITIONAL WORK ⁄


Linyanti, 2009, oil on canvas, 48 Ă— 60 inches


Selinda, 2009, oil on canvas, 60 × 48 inches

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Damaraland, 2008, oil on canvas, 48 Ă— 60 inches


Cajas Peaks, 2012, oil on canvas, 48 × 60 inches

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Cajas Marsh, 2011, oil on canvas, 48 Ă— 60 inches


Cotopaxi, 2006, oil on canvas, 48 × 60 inches

72 ⁄73


Chimborazo, 2006, oil on canvas, 48 Ă— 60 inches


Caldera, 2004, oil on canvas, 48 × 48 inches

74 ⁄75


Shrouded Peak, 2003, oil on canvas, 48 × 60 inches


Volcano, 2011, oil on canvas, 60 × 48 inches

76 ⁄77


Mindo, 2011, oil on canvas, 36 Ă— 60 inches


Lissadell Rocks, 2012, oil on canvas, 48 × 48 inches

78 ⁄79


Beach, 2007, oil on canvas, 48 Ă— 60 inches


Rock at Low Tide, 2008, oil on canvas, 48 × 60 inches

80 ⁄81


Sea, 2008, oil on canvas, 60 × 48 inches


Fossil Beach, 2010, oil on canvas, 48 × 60 inches

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Low Tide, 2009, oil on canvas, 48 × 48 inches


Forest Creek, 2010, oil on canvas, 48 × 60 inches

84 ⁄85


Oregon Woods, 2010, oil on canvas, 48 × 60 inches


Woods, 2010, oil on canvas, 60 × 48 inches

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My Father’s Woods, 2012, oil on canvas, 48 × 60 inches


Woods Edge, 2003, oil on canvas, 48 × 48 inches

88 ⁄89


Breakers, Cloonagh, 2012, oil on canvas, 48 Ă— 60 inches


Storm, 2012, oil on canvas, 48 × 60 inches

90 ⁄91


Rocky Beach, 2012, oil on panel, 6 × 6 × 2 inches


Sand and Rocks, 2012, oil on panel, 6 × 6 × 2 inches

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Sea and Rocks #8, 2011, oil on panel, 6 × 6 × 2 inches


Sea and Rocks #9, 2012, oil on panel, 6 × 6 × 2 inches

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1995

Studio Design Gallery, Washington, DC

1993

Washington Design Collaborative, Washington, DC

1987

Foundry Gallery, Washington, DC

ARTIST’S RÉSUMÉ ⁄

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, MI Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Madison, WI

1986 Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Art, Neenah, WI freya grand was born in madison, wisconsin, where she earned a degree in Painting at the University of Wisconsin. She pursued additional studies in intaglio with printmaker

1984 Elvehjem Museum of Art, Madison, WI

Sandra Soll and traditional Japanese wood-block printing with Toshi Yoshida at the Haystack Mountain School in Deer Isle, Maine. She has designed and created large public murals in the DC

University of Minnesota Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN

selected group exhibitions 2011

Artery Plaza Gallery, Washington, DC “Nature’s Elements Beauty and Structure” Two-person show; Claudia Rousseau AICA, PhD Curator

area and painted sets for both the theater and television.

Grand’s studio is in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of

2010 Art Chicago (with Judy Saslow Gallery)

Washington, DC.

selected solo exhibitions 2011

Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2010 Judy Saslow Gallery, Chicago, IL Gallery Neptune, Bethesda, MD Greater Reston Arts Center GRACE, Reston, VA 2007 Gallery 211, Baltimore, MD 2005 The Arts Club of Washington, Washington, DC 2003 Gallery K, Washington, DC 2001 Pass Gallery, Washington, DC

2009 Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), Reston, VA 35th Anniversary Juried Exhibition Award for Cotopaxi and Connemara; Dale Lanzone, juror

Aaron Gallery, Washington, DC; “Miniatures”

2008 Arts Club of Washington. Imagining Ireland: Sky, Land, Sea. Sponsored by the Embassy of Ireland. Three-person show. 2007 Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC Honorable Mention; Jack Rasmussen, juror 2006 Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA 2005 Fraser Gallery, Washington, DC Kentucky Museum of Art, Louisville, KY Gallery International, Baltimore, MD

2000 Boathouse Gallery, Provincetown, MA

Opposite: Chimborazo (detail)

96 ⁄97


2004 WPA/Corcoran, Washington DC 2003 Gallery K, Washington, DC Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center, Richmond, VA 2002 Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space, Washington, DC Boathouse Gallery, Provincetown, MA Gallery K, Washington, DC

WPA/Corcoran, Washington, DC

2001 Gallery K, Washington, DC 2000 Gallery K, Washington, DC 2000 Boathouse Gallery, Provincetown, MA 1996 McLean Project for the Arts, McLean ,VA 1995

Studio Design Gallery, Washington, DC

Reynolds Gallery, Richmond VA

1994 Studio Design Gallery, Washington, DC 1992

Greater Reston Art Center, Reston, VA

1991

Arlington Art Center, Arlington, VA

1988 Deen Gallery, Tyler, TX 1987

Coconut Grove Arts Festival (Virginia Miller Gallery), Coconut Grove, FL

1985

Perimeter Gallery, Chicago, IL

Valperine Gallery, Madison, WI

Dorothy Bradley Gallery, Milwaukee, WI

Seuferer-Chosy Gallery, Madison, WI

1984 Perimeter Gallery, Chicago, IL

Virginia Miller Gallery, Coral Gables, FL


98 ⁄99


Profile for Women in the Arts

Freya Grand: Minding the Landscape  

This catalogue was published on the occasion of “Freya Grand: Minding the Landscape,” on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts fr...

Freya Grand: Minding the Landscape  

This catalogue was published on the occasion of “Freya Grand: Minding the Landscape,” on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts fr...