Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Upcoming Exhibition at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts


I have been getting my upcoming exhibition together that will be at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, MD.  The Mirror of Nature: The Art of Philip Koch runs Nov. 8, 2014 - Feb. 22, 2015. As part of this I've compiled some notes we may use on some of the wall labels for a few of the paintings. Here are a few examples.

The Song of All Days, oil on panel, 36 x 72”, 2008 (the painting above).
Painted just as he was turning 60, Koch thought of this painting as a recollection and celebration of all the times he had spent painting surrounded by nature. He explained “I have the best office in the world.”





Deep Forest Pool, oil on panel, 30 x 40”, 2011
Many of the 19th century farms in the Eastern U.S. have failed, allowing the cleared land to revert to deep forest. Often the only relief from the darkness of their foliage canopy comes from the light that falls on small forest pools like this one. This painting was done entirely from imagination and the memory of the forest pools where Koch played as a boy.





Ascension, oil on panel, 40 x 32”, 2008
Koch’s wife Alice suggested the theme for this painting when she accidentally glimpsed one of Koch landscapes in a mirror. The mirror’s oblique angle turned that painting’s horizontal expanse into a vertical format that suggested a rising up movement instead of the back and forth feeling associated with most panoramas.






The Voyage, oil on canvas, 38 x 38”, 2000.
Philip Koch fell in love with the romantic landscape paintings of the 19th century American artists of the Hudson River School such as Thomas Cole. While the tasks of 21st century landscape painters is different than that of artists 150 years ago, Koch intended this oil partly as homage to Cole's famous series of paintings The Voyage of Life. The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts’ Permanent Collection is particularly rich in this area and includes one of Cole’s oil studies for The Voyage of Life.




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