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  • Emily Van Cleve

Deep Connections with the Landscape

Rebecca Allan's abstract paintings reflect her scientific curiosity

Emily Van Cleve

Rebecca Allan, Black Mesa with Emerald Pool, acrylic on canvas, 24” x 18”, 2018.

Rebecca Allan’s latest body of work on display at David Richard Gallery was inspired by friendships with naturalists, gardeners and painters she has met during travels in New Mexico, Kentucky, Lebanon and Norway and reflects the deep connection she feels with the landscapes in these locations.

On exhibit through July 14, with an artist talk from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and a reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 7, “In Voltaire’s Garden” features a series of abstract, gestural paintings on canvas, and works on paper that represent landscapes that are close to the hearts of many northern New Mexicans.

“Black Mesa with Emerald Pool” is one of Allan’s locally-inspired works. “As I thought about creating this work, I tried to grasp and understand how to communicate the vastness of Black Mesa and the surrounding area,” Allan explains about her response to the impressive mesa that looms above the Rio Grande Valley north of Santa Fe.

“I started by doing some sketches-my version of shorthand language-on location as a way to harness my vision and perception,” she continues. “Back in my studio in the Bronx, I worked on the painting by toning the canvas with warm and cool colors that approximated the colors I saw in the landscape and sky around Black Mesa.”

Allan’s paintings are rooted in the dramatic cycles of nature as well as a deep curiosity about science and the forces underlying what is observed on the surface of things. “My working process involves drawing, mixing pigments and layering color over time in response to the environment and to observed and felt experience,” she adds.

An award-winning New York-based artist who has exhibited work in museums and galleries in the U.S. and abroad for more than 25 years, Allan is constantly inspired by her interest in landscape ecology, botany and geology.

“I still believe that there is an essential place for the observation and translation of the landscape in our art,” she says. “This is more important now than it has ever been, as the agencies of our government that are enlisted with protecting our wild lands and waters inconceivably refute that mission.”

Rebecca Allan: "In Voltaire's Garden"

Through July 14

July 7: artist talk at 4 p.m.; artist reception from 5-7 p.m.

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