Mockingbird Gallery, August 1-31
This story was featured in the August 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art August 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
G. Russell Case’s show at Mockingbird Gallery this month is a chance for the artist to showcase a wide range of landscapes that he doesn’t often get the opportunity to exhibit. “One of the things that Russell and I discussed before he began working on this body of paintings was his desire to celebrate all of what the West has to offer,” explains gallery owner Jim Peterson. “Russell has wanted to expand his focus beyond the red rocks and desert scenes that he has become so recognized for to include his passion for the mountains, farms, and rural areas of the western United States. This show is certainly a platform for some of those ideas and inspirations.”
Opening with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. on August 1 and running through the end of the month, this is Case’s first solo show at Mockingbird Gallery. He has put together 20 oil paintings that honor the lush landscape around his Utah home, the desert mesas in the southern part of his state, the majestic mountains in the Northwest, and the beauty of the Oregon coast. He’s also including a few small field studies that inspire larger works. “These field studies are like my drawings,” Case says. “They’re done in oils. I don’t blow them up into large paintings, so they’re works in their own right.”
Paintings of the farmland and dairy country close to his home are included in the show. Case hasn’t been traveling extensively lately but rather focusing much of his work on Utah-area landscapes, both canyon lands and mountain scenes, that inspire him. “I paint mountains off and on all the time, but many of them don’t get shown,” he says. “What’s terrific about this show is that it’s an eclectic representation of what I do.”
Case’s landscapes are not intended to be exact representations of the places he paints. His goal is to give the viewer the feeling and sense of where he was through the use of natural color that he describes as “softly exaggerated.” Human figures often appear in his paintings, but they are treated like any other form found in a landscape. They are included in the landscape but do not dominate it. “People can distract from the landscape, so I choose to place them as accents to the painting,” he explains. “Since they do hold a lot of visual weight, my challenge is to put them in without making them a distraction.”
Peterson says Case is a great observer and student of nature, and he is delighted to be hosting a show of Case’s new works. “Russell’s unique depictions of our beloved western landscapes are both timeless and visionary, editing out the unnecessary and celebrating the simple beauty that the mountains and valleys offer,” says Peterson. “He paints sweeping, idealized visions of the majestic western landscape as well as the mundane. He fills his canvases with the beauty that can be found in our natural world and manages to capture the exact moment when light and shadow are at their most dramatic.” —Emily Van Cleve
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