Santa Fe, NM—LewAllen Galleries is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, Woody Gwyn: Expanded Views. One of America’s foremost contemporary landscape painters, Gwyn captures the crystalline light and vast expanses of our changing American terrain. On view from June 11 – July 25, 2010, his first exhibition to be presented by LewAllen Galleries will feature new works characterized by their panoramic formats, dramatic angles, aggressive cropping, and an acute contrast between the natural and manmade. Whether depicting monumental Western mesas, tranquil wooded clearings, or shimmering oceanic expanses, Gwyn offers new modes of seeing a world he reveres.
As landscape painting marks the state of our conception of nature, Gwyn familiarizes us to shifts in our contemporary vision. The breadth of his strikingly horizontal panoramas invokes both the proportions and the extended temporal involvement inherent to cinema as they slowly lead the eye through sensuous ribbons of scenery that resist immediate comprehensibility. His frequently downward-canted, aerial views reveal a land we’ve come to better understand through the technologies of aerial photography and satellite surveillance – an Earth equally expanded and neutralized by distance.
Featuring recent paintings, Expanded Views exemplifies the continuing formal innovations and technical accomplishments that distinguish his work. Departing from the increasingly conceptual protocols of contemporary art, Gwyn emphasizes that landscape is not merely a construct shaped by human ideologies and cultural policies—that, in fact, it continuously moves and shapes us. In such paintings as Arroyo/Sky and Pacific/Highway
, the vast horizontal formats of canvases measuring up to 16-feet in length encourage the active physical engagement of their audience.
Mirroring the experience of encountering the overwhelming views they depict, it is impossible to perceive the entirety of these intricately detailed paintings in a single glance. They invite us to traverse their lengths, stopping often to experience the full wealth of their sensory information. Gwyn’s art embraces landscape as something greater than us; the spaces it depicts are at once the subjects of abstract contemplations and, like our bodies themselves, the very framework of our complex material reality.
Gwyn shows us a world that needs art more than ever before: for it is only through the palpable and sustained physical involvement of the artist’s hand that we can re-humanize a new sense of space: a frontier that would remain remote without the confirmed and sensitized presence of shared human experience. Confronting the fragmentation that defines our era while eschewing the conventions that defined the past, he offers painstakingly rendered perceptions of nature’s grandeur that are both epic and uniquely true to our times.
Woody Gwyn was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1944, and received his arts education from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts before returning to immerse himself in the western landscape. Since moving to New Mexico in 1974, he has found a supportive community of fellow artists and friends who share his passion for the boundless inspiration of the region’s terrain. Since his first exhibition in 1965, Gwyn has shown his paintings locally, nationally and internationally. His work is included in the permanent collections of significant public institutions including the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe; the Albuquerque Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Phoenix Art Museum; the Denver Art Museum; and numerous other museums and private collections.
In addition to having been acquired by these important collections, his art has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in a wide array of international arts venues including the Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel; le Centre Nationale des Arts Plastiques, Paris, France; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery of George Washington University, Washington, DC; as well as numerous other institutions. His monograph, Woody Gwyn, produced by Texas Tech University Press, records the artist’s unique contributions to contemporary landscape painting.
Reflecting his considerable lifetime contribution to the arts, Woody Gwyn is the recipient of the 2010 New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts—the state’s highest artistic honor. In support of his nomination for this important accolade, art historian Sharyn R. Udall has written, “Like the earth’s surface, each mind has its own topography; Woody Gwyn’s is open, fluid, expansive, like his canvases. Disguised in the persuasive truth-telling of realism, his paintings invite us to explore realms where nature and culture test mysterious new affinities.” Expanded Views reflects the latest evolution of the warmth, sensitivity, and humble sincerity of his simultaneously timeless and thoroughly contemporary vision.