Remembering Places: Plateaus | Ranges |Basins
An exhibition of paintings by Luke B Watson
May 27 – August 27, 2023
“For millions of years, wind and water has sculpted and molded the dramatic land that I have called home for most of my life. I have explored the rippling mountain ranges and their low basin valleys and the spaces between that press against the towering uplift of the Colorado Plateau. Rivers run red with silt and sediment eventually settle out to an impossible emerald green, scarring deep stories through the rock. These are the places that capture me and provide an endless source of inspiration, awe, and sublime bewilderment.
This region is diverse, complex, and resilient. It encompasses most of North America’s deserts, and it is home to the highest and lowest elevations in the lower forty-eight. Like many who have traversed this land before me, today, I wander with my paintbox or a camera, and try to understand and capture the desert’s intricate stories.
The paintings in this show represent a different kind of exploration. Here, I have reinterpreted memories and experiences and compressed them into a single view. Just as a good view of a landscape creates a place to rest and remember, these paintings of landscapes are reflections back upon those places and experiences. Each painting is the result of many hours of work that can be viewed in an instant, distilling each landscape into a symbol of both experience and reflection, reality and understanding.
The places depicted are varied; some are specific, and others are amalgamations of experiences, but all are based upon the plateaus, ranges, and basins that have occupied so much of my life’s attention. The vivid color and simplified clarity riff stylistically with my past work, while tapping into the magical idealization memory induces. At once clear and bright, yet intangible and without the texture of reality, these paintings represent a simplification and idealization reinforced with every recollection. These are my Remembered Places.” – Luke B Watson
Luke B Watson is a Phoenix-based artist working across media. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA, participating in Pratt in Venice in 2013, and received his MFA from Arizona State University. His MFA exhibition, Clearcut, was in March 2022.