Be Careful What You Wish For: New Paintings and Works on Paper
Western Project is proud to present Be Careful What You Wish For, a new body of work by Los Angeles artist, Samantha Fields. Traditionally, the artist begins by researching weather and landscape phenomena, photographing hundreds of shots for the perfect image to paint. In this most recent body of work the artist has culled from over five years of archives, of ‘failed’ images, those where the camera did not pick up what she intended due to heat, water, or movement, and those where she is in the scene rather than reporting from afar. This marks a distinct shift in point of view, from observational to experiential. Additionally, the work is conceptually tied by the idea of chance rather than systematic investigation. The theme of the unexpected vs. study is important for the artist as it moves the work into a more subjective arena, though not with out ironies; Nature is observed through veils: a camera lens, car windshields, or dense fog. As the artist is immersed in her surroundings, very few clear details are apparent; traffic headlights are soft focused in the rain, a spectacular Los Angeles sunset/cityscape is blurred by movement, and a deer amongst the trees is a monumental but momentary vision. There is never pictorial clarity. It is the sense of movement, or glimpse of a scene or shrouding atmosphere that creates a mysterious quality, as an enigmatic memory or recollection. As most of the works have a large scale, the pictures are cinematic, historically linked to 19th and early 20th century paintings of the West by artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran. While these two artists painted theatrical works, Fields’ airbrushed paintings reference the camera ready culture of the 21st century. By using such momentary glimpses, another paradox exists in the work; technological speed and the sense of silence, and/or stillness. Her painting of the sunset from Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles hints at the continual rotation of the earth, while another work of a log on the misty forest floor quietly points to the organic cycle of life and death. Both urban and forest images though observed through a lens, are painted with innate reverence, similar in tone as the writings of Waldo Emerson or Henry David Thoreau. Each work of Fields’ is a moment of experience, private awe of the fleeting present caught in the reflection of wet city streets and obscured mountain forests.
Fields is currently in, No Object Is An Island, at the Cranbrook Art Museum, Detroit, Painting (Los Angeles) at Another Year in LA, 10 Years LA @ Foundation Kaus Australis, The Prospectus, Los Angeles. She has exhibited at Kim Light/LIGHTBOX Gallery, Melanee Cooper Gallery in Chicago, The Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, Solway Jones Gallery in Los Angeles, Dirt Gallery in Los Angeles, POST Gallery in Los Angeles, Domestic Setting Gallery in Mar Vista, California, Suzanne Hilberry Gallery in Detroit, Lemberg Gallery in Birmingham, Michigan, The Jones Center for Contemporary Art in Austin, Texas, and Galerie Enholm Englehorn in Vienna, Austria. Her work has been reviewed in the Los Angeles Times, ArtWeek, Art in America, The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.