Michael Gregory: Here and There, Far and Wide
March 10, 2016 - April 16, 2016
On March 10 an exhibition of new oil paintings by Michael Gregory, “Here and There, Far and Wide,” opens at Nancy Hoffman Gallery and continues through April 16.
For the past decade Gregory has focused on the American iconic landscape, including a barn or farm community, a silo, telephone poles, fences, fields of hay, cloud or star-filled skies. His point of departure is love of the land, particularly the West that John Steinbeck described in his books. The artist does not seek a “photoreal” representation of the land and sky; each painting in oil on canvas is a “reimagined” vision of what he has seen as he drives through vast stretches of the Western land and skyscape. Half of the paintings are long horizontals, evocations of driving through a rich and varied landscape, capturing its essence in memory; half measure 6x5 feet. Most embrace color in a poetic, subtle and rich fashion. Most of the works depict mountains against a dawn, day or nighttime sky, and through most of the works fog floats as a leitmotif. Nestled in front of the mountains are the iconic structures of the West, an old barn or a community of farm buildings inviting, yet private. While the manifest content of the works is “the landscape,” these are not simple landscapes and not simply the landscape qua landscape. This is terrain ripe for exploration, a terrain where space seems infinite, where light can shine in the sky uninterrupted by the detritus of civilization. These are paintings harking back to another time, yet achingly contemporary. Pared to the essence of structure in the landscape, a barn sets the stage for mood, time and place, and arrests one’s eye as one views the fields and mountains and skies. The poetry in the paintings is palpable; the sense of memory is undeniable. The show’s title suggests these are works from the mind, mindscapes that span life and experiences of living in the land, on the land, and driving through vast vistas and skies of the West. While most of the works radiate the macrocosm, and infinite space, a few capture a moment in time; “Fireflies in the Birch Grove” is more micro than macro, a poetic vision in paint.
More than his prior series, the works in “Here and There, Far and Wide” capture moments in time, moods, and focus the viewer on the passage of time. One looks into a Gregory painting with a swath of fog, and if one looks away, the feeling is the fog may pass. What remains is the memory, mist, a sense of time passing enhanced by the colors of the paintings, weathered, timeless, fresh. These are American paintings filled with Lewis and Clark’s commitment to the future, and to the preservation of a landscape unique in the world.
Gregory has written:
“In May of 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark departed from Saint Louis, Missouri to map the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase and search for what was then a centuries’ old quest for a passage across the interior to the Pacific Ocean. Their
journey was a nation’s commitment to the future. “This urge for exploration and discovery is hardwired in our genes there from our earliest trek out of Africa to our voyage into space. It is an impulse that recurs with each generation. What continues to amaze me in a formal way is the contrast of man-made structures to the natural environment and how they fit seamlessly into their setting, ghostly sentinels to man’s hubris. “
These paintings are not specific to actual place; they are composite reminders of where we’ve been. The meditative quality of driving long distances is recreated in the studio, with its attendant solitude and silence. Our response to landscape is visceral. Every sunrise is miraculous and novel.” One cannot help but feel what Gregory has stated when looking at these glowing works, that indeed, “every sunrise is miraculous and novel,” and every wisp of fog a fleeting moment of poetry.
The artist’s work has been shown at The Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock; Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Denver; Boise Art Museum, Idaho; Boulder Center for the Visual Arts, Colorado; The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland; Center for the Arts, Vero Beach, Florida; Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science, Indiana; Fine Arts Center Galleries, University of Rhode Island, Kingston; The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California; Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan; Florida International University, Miami; Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, Colorado; Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee; Maier Museum of Art, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Lynchburg, Virginia; Richmond Art Center, California; San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, California; San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, California; San Mateo Arts Council, California; Selby Gallery, Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida; The Charlotte and Philip Hanes Art Gallery, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
His work is included in the collections of the Boise Art Museum, Idaho; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington; Denver Art Museum, Colorado; Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science, Indiana; San Jose Museum of Art, California, and numerous private collections.
He was Martha and Merritt deJong Memorial Artist-in-Residence, Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science, Indiana in 2003.
Michael Gregory was born in Los Angeles in 1955. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. He resides in Bolinas, California with his wife.
For additional information and/or photographs, please call (212) 966-6676 6676 or e-mail Nancy Hoffman Gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org