Saturday, January 19, 2019

Don Wynn: Not The Times To Be Painting Only Trees

Mysterious Marriage of St. Ivanka acrylic 11x12 2017I’ve been taking some time away from trying to capture the elusive painted equivalents of things primarily Adirondack in origin, which in many instances are so very positive in character.

In times of great sociopolitical upheaval, as is the case in our nation today, events occurring beyond our personal sphere of activity will have a profound and sometimes immediate effect on our own environment.

There is a strong historical tradition of commentary by artists in many disciplines responding to such a situation via their medium of choice. Living or working in a place such as the Adirondacks does not exempt any artist from considering an attempt within this genre — an Adirondack artist is as much affected by current events as an artist anywhere else, and there comes a time when a suitable response in one’s own artistic language beckons.

Because much of my work relies to a certain degree on allusion and metaphor, it’s not surprising that this is the approach taken in the recent paintings I’ve done in response to the wretched situation our government is in. There is always the risk in this way of painting that the iconography employed will be overly arcane, the allusions obscure.

This is inherent in taking a painting route that demands reflection and engaged investigation by the viewer, rather than taking an illustrative approach, in which the obvious is already a known, a redundancy.

During my college years I studied the Flemish artists of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, who were such masters of iconography and metaphor. I thus chose a satirical title for one of the paintings I’ve recently completed that refers to Gerard David’s “The Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine.”

Of the four paintings I’ve completed as my sociopolitical response so far, perhaps “The Mysterious Marriage of St. Ivanka” best embodies the malevolent mystery that surrounds it all.

My hope is that the shroud will soon be lifted and the motivation to paint this sort of subject will recede.

Painting: Mysterious Marriage of St. Ivanka acrylic 11×12, 2017.

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