Robert Michener   Farm Paintings

March 5, 1983 - March 27, 1983

When we are in the midst of nature, landscape is all around us, not just in front of us. Even when experiencing landscape through the proscenium of a window, we have a very strong counter tendency not to attend to it in a logical sequence from near to far, but rather to let our attention shift randomly and playfully between elements that occur at different distances.

Recently I have moved farther away from representations which look like the elements of landscape, toward the use of symbols for mountains, rocks, trees, etc. This has made it easier for me to play with the elements – to move them around arbitrarily and to be more playful in my use of colour. Sometimes I have portrayed more than one scene in the same picture, so that penetration of the space at one point is contradicted by a return to the picture plane at another. I have made use of narrative in my subject matter to interject an illusion of time.

The Farm Paintings continue my intention to express gentleness and the feminine, in unity with qualities of assertiveness, orderliness, and the masculine. The farm paintings show people at home and at work in a reciprocal and nurturing relationship with the earth. I have chosen to represent small family farms because of the attitudes of husbandry and commitment to the land reflected in them.

I have chosen to be an artist not a farmer. But I feel a strong affinity for the land. The option of small farms as a source of human livelihood should be protected and celebrated.

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