Escapes in Rockin' Carriage House
The Columbus Dispatch
Private Spaces | Rod Bouc
December 7, 2008
environment interact in contrasting styles
June 17, 2007 3:59 AM
Christopher A. Yates
The Columbus Dispatch
Bouc and Eric Barth create contemplative landscapes. Like windows of personal
experience, their paintings are emotional responses to location, the passage
of time and the change of light or season. Both use unconventional painting
methods with vastly different results.
Though stylistically the artists reside in different camps,
pairing them is successful. Most interesting is a comparison of surfaces.
Bouc's are visceral and energetic while Barth's are atmospheric and quiet.
Equally valid, the approaches suggest two different relationships with nature.
Using oil sticks, Bouc produces dramatic paintings and monotype
prints. Having grown up on a farm in Nebraska, he re-creates the rural Midwest
through elaborate orchestrations of mark and texture. Though brightly colored,
his works essentially are about value -- with strong light and dark shades.
The effect is stark, raw and a bit unsettling.
Many pieces focus on areas of transition, places where nature and
man form an uneasy coexistence. Weedtree, Michaelmas and Goldenrod
depicts a tangle of noxious weeds, plants that farmers battle. The strangely
beautiful image examines man's control and domination of the natural world.
The monotype After Corn Picking presents a harvested
cornfield. The barren earth seems to have endured a kind of physical violence.
Though more observation than indictment, the piece moves beyond a simple
landscape to make a statement: When man's will is imposed on nature, there are
Barth's paintings are calm and meditative. Although they seem to
be Midwestern places, his subjects are unidentifiable, approaching a universal
quality. They follow the tradition of 19th-century American landscape painters
but, more important, they connect with tonalists such as Ralph Blakelock,
James Abbott McNeill Whistler scenes, including A Silent Night Shattered and
A Clouded Moon. Distant lights and small boats on bodies of water signal
Bouc and Barth offer
landscapes as reflections of personal experience. Their works reflect upon and
attempt to understand the human place in the natural world.