1992 or 1993
129.5 x 289.6 cm (51 x 114 inches)
oil paint, canvas
From the artist--"This painting is part of a group of landscapes created from 1990 through 1997 on the Clayton Bruckner property in Troy, Ohio. Bruckner was an inventor who contributed to Dayton's aviation history. Many of the landscapes were painted en plein air, but this piece was created in the studio during the winter months, when I could not work outside. I noticed this type of landscape as I repeatedly drove back and forth from Dayton to Troy. The painting lies somewhere between a pun and the truth. I was thinking about a way to capture Ohio, in the way Georgia O'Keefe depicted and defined the southwest. I was interested in elevating this familiar sight, encouraging people to really consider this common roadside view. Fences like the one I painted are everywhere, and replace the ideal white picket fence with a more industrial version, one that catches litter and debris on one side or the other. Looking at and through the distant spaces bisected by vines and links evokes the nostalgic idea of the grass is greener. The fence is also a metaphor for how we maintain boundaries in our lives, unsuccessfully trying to keep messiness from creeping in. We painstakingly pull the weeds, cut the vines and fix up our boundaries; we think we have gained understanding, evolved...and then the things we fear and struggle with come around again. Just like familiar relationships, past foibles, and things we should let go, Nature returns when we fail to rigorously pay attention. Visually, I love the monotony of the fence and the vines. This painting started as one panel, but I needed to expand horizontally to capture the sense of filling one's peripheral vision. This also determined the scale of the piece, although the size was very challenging to paint. I was particularly concerned with engaging the viewer in the painted surface, and not allowing it to become just an illustration of an idea."
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Koeller, Jean, "Great American Landscape" (2014). Campus Art. 1.