Day 0009

A landscape! This is a view to one side of the bike path in Warren. Near the municipal park-n-ride, and almost exactly opposite the site where a transformer exploded last week and shut down electricity for almost the whole town. I’m still trying to resolve my approach to landscape. I strongly tend toward the idea that landscape is the land we see, or don’t see, around us, and not the dramatic, picturesque landscape of the classic rock formations, mountains, or lakes. The landscape we disregard. Or, in addition, the sorts of landscapes we’d hunt for frogs and insects and fungus in as kids. Or at least I would. This approach is part of the reason that i adore the work of Isaak Levitan. He was an early painter of the Russian landscape, during a period when artists were genuinely perplexed about whether it was possible to paint a Russian landscape at all, since there was nowhere that looked at all like the existing models of landscape painting, the Arcadias of France and the Romantic dramas of Germany. Russia was all enormous flatlands, with enormous skies and enormous stretches of birch and pine forest, interrupted by giant rivers from time to time. Levitan and some of his contemporary artists in the Peredvizhniki used this as the basis for creating what I think is among the finest visual poetry.