“When I choose a subject for plein air, I am responding to an immediate connection with a certain landscape at a certain time of day at a certain season. And by some mysterious alchemy my heart leaps. This stab of joy includes an element of longing and eventual loss that makes it more poignant: a realization of the universal truth ‘This too shall pass’...”
- Ann Lofquist
Gross McCleaf is delighted to present a new series of landscape paintings by Ann Lofquist in Passing Observations. Lofquist’s remarkable skill and eye for detail, beauty and serenity are on full display in this new collection of both small-scale plein air paintings, and larger studio works.
Having grown up beside the Potomac River in Maryland, Lofquist maintains a strong connection to the surrounding landscape from her childhood years, noting, “It is important to me to have a knowledge of a place if I am going to paint it extensively. By ‘knowledge’ I mean an intimate familiarity with the flora and fauna, the texture of the soil, the weather and seasonal changes”. Lofquist’s mastery in contemporary landscape painting and pictorial grandeur draws many parallels with the early American works of the Hudson River School and 19th century painters, and like her predecessors, she spends considerable time finding solace in and studying nature, selecting dynamic, rural scenes from the American northeast as her subjects.
Image Left: Tazewell Sycamore, 9″ x 9″, Oil On Panel
For Lofquist, “the act of painting from nature is an intuitive process”. Lush trees, rolling hills, trickling streams, distant mountains, fog and sky are recorded with speed and accuracy on-site. The resulting small paintings are rich with immediacy as they successfully capture a raw sense of discovery and emotional responsiveness. Lofquist references these studies, plus additional sketches and photos, back in her studio, switching from observer to architect, as she slowly works to produce larger, structured compositions. Emphasizing the integrity of each step in the development of her works, Lofquist notes, “In the studio, I try to reinvent the experience but also alter and improvise…I consider a large painting ‘adrift’ and courting failure if it loses the original emotional inspiration depicted in the plein air”.
Lofquist’s work also acknowledges the ways humans engage with rural landscapes. She suggests a dialogue between the act of observation and the impact of human presence on the natural world by placing a solitary house, a winding road, or a lone figure amidst the scenery. While her plein air pictures offer a rush of delight that only nature can deliver, they ultimately invite us to pause and cherish the transient beauty of the ever-changing environment that surrounds us.
Image Right: Bray Road II, 12″ x 18″, Oil On Panel
Lofquist received her BFA from Washington University in Saint Louis and her MFA from Indiana University. Her work has been shown across the country in galleries in Philadelphia, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Portland, ME. She has had solo exhibitions in Santa Monica, CA; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA and more. Her work is in many public collections including the Arnot Art Museum in Almira, NY; Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME; Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA and PECO Philadelphia. Lofquist currently resides in western Massachusetts.
Image Left: Randolph, 7″ x 16″, Oil On Panel
~ Exhibition Preview ~
February 8 - March 2, 2024
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 10, 1 - 4 pm