“Although the new paintings were not done in the true sense of outdoors,»Explains Eddy,« they are in tune with the way Frederic Church worked: going to see the world, draw, come back, then paint in the studio. I had every intention of painting in the landscape, but I found that there was no longer a need to be just outside, to readjust and to absorb the world again. There was a stillness and stillness that I saw in nature that seemed important to bring back to the studio. “
Eddy’s work – paintings, drawings and bronze sculptures, which were exhibited in two galleries, Berggruen in San Francisco and Baldwin in Aspen, during the summer – was different from what he had done before. “It has become less invented and more referential,” he says. “Not necessarily describing the specific location, but how the light fell on the river or how the atmosphere changed the color of the hills or how an area felt. After all that, outdoors seemed to take on new meaning for me. It was more about being in nature, internalizing the landscape, rather than representing what was right in front of me.
Hughes took many walks on the Hudson Bridge that connects Cole’s house with Church’s. “On the bridge, you have the impression of being big and small at the same time. I wanted to create something that the viewer felt engulfed in. While I was in this region to paint, I was experiencing a loss. This painting is about life and death – a beautiful full life over a day, from sunrise to sunset. “
How does the concept of painting outside amended? “In the past, it was about in-person observation,” Hughes tells me. “I think the term has changed because our ways of seeing aren’t just visual. Psychologically, we can “see” things through other perspectives. By adding the human condition and personal experience to the equation, the same field could be painted completely different from day to day. In today’s world there is more – what matters is who paints it and from what point of view. Surrounding myself with nature during this time helped me understand how nature can be so much more powerful than us. “
David Hockney totally agrees with seeing psychologically. “As everyone is now a photographer with a camera in their pocket, photographs have become more and more boring,” he emails me. “It’s much better to draw things. I made 220 tables on iPad in 2020, all outdoors. I am now doing eight paintings on the iPad that make a single image. I think they’re way more real than photographs – remember, cameras see geometrically, we see psychologically. Think about it. As Edvard Munch said, photography cannot compete with painting because it cannot face Heaven or Hell.