Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Artist Statement

Visitors to a wine tasting room are often divorced from the source of the wine they are consuming. They experience the final product in their glass, but might know little about the practices that went into creating it. Though “great wine is made in the vineyard,” to the average tasting room visitor the vineyard can seem very foreign.

By using a portrait painter’s approach to vineyard painting, depicting isolated vines, life-sized, against a flat background, like a figurative painter poses a model in the studio, the anatomy of the individual vines becomes more pictorially accessible, bridging that gap between the vineyard and the audience. By capturing, in the simplest terms possible, the unique varietals, clones, blocks and trellising systems within the Paso Robles AVA, one vine at a time, the intention is to “map out” the individual identity of the vines, like the unique finger prints that make each of us different.

Instead of vineyards of abundance and fertility, here we see the vines stripped bare of all foliage and fruit, in the nude interim between harvest and pruning. Instead of elegant vineyard rows bending over the curvature of the hills into the hazy distance, here we see one stark solitary vine against a flat void. Instead of a bright spectrum of neon green foliage, warm yellow sun and juicy purple clusters, the pallet has been reduced to 3 inhospitable colors – Ivory Black, Titanium White and a frozen Indigo that is cold as gunmetal. Color is largely rejected in favor of form, line and rhythm, as the emphasis is drawn towards the artist’s three narratives of primary concern: identity, polarity and transformation. The intended aesthetic quality of this particular series of work has its foundation in three primary concepts:

Krummholz :(German) krumm, "crooked, bent, twisted" and Holz, "wood", also "knee timber" — is a particular feature of subarctic and subalpine tree line landscapes. Continual exposure to the elements causes vegetation to become stunted and deformed into bent, twisted, knotted limbs. This feature can be commonly found in the alpine environments of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, my native soil.

Wabi-sabi: (Japanese) represents a comprehensive Japanese aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience, of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent and incomplete." Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, and modesty. If an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy, then that object could be said to be “wabi-sabi.” It nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.

Terroir: (French) comes from the word terre "land," a French term in wine, coffee and tea used to denote the special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place bestowed upon particular varieties. It can be very loosely translated as "a sense of place," which is embodied in certain characteristic qualities, the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the production of the wine. At its core it is the assumption that the land from which the grapes are grown imparts a unique quality that is specific to that region.

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