New YorkNoah Landfield - Ephemeral Cities
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When I was 17 years old I saw an exhibition at the Pace Gallery (which happens to be the same physical space as Findlay Galleries, New York now – 32 East 57th street), that helped shape my love of painting, and my understanding of the power of painted objects. It was an exhibition juxtaposing the work of Pierre Bonnard and Mark Rothko. The Bonnard/Rothko show in 1997 was an incredible experience, and the experience itself had a healing effect on me. To see Bonnard and Rothko’s color saturated paintings engaging with each other in an intimate gallery setting was exciting and unexpected. Both artists were early and powerful influences on me. To see their works together was such a compliment to painting itself, and the joy that viewing art can be.
In this current body of work, I’ve been thinking about and around the concepts of magic, ephemerality, materiality and alchemy. These terms each have a lot in common with painting in general. In my artistic practice, materiality is the beginning, and it is in the transformation of materials – alchemy, in which we may or may not find magic. Magic is an ephemeral idea, it exists somewhere between religion and science, it’s both real and unreal depending on who you are. We all possess magic (however one might not know it based on our individual perspectives).
Paintings can be magic, healing objects, and I am interested in this idea of how my paintings function in the world that way. We are all ephemeral beings in an ephemeral world. My paintings have a lot to do with these ideas of ephemerality: color, light, duration. I also depict images of cities and objects we might think to be permanent and solid but in fact are just as ephemeral as flesh and blood. In a way I would like the work to speak to this totality of nature that we are all a part of.
“Noah Landfield’s compositions are defined by the tension that arises between colorful, discreet shapes, and the abbreviated marks and notations culled from digital photography that create the aerial views of Japanese cities glimpsed obscurely through abstracted clouds. These landscape-inspired works are not fully abstract; they encourage a representational interpretation of the narrative that plays out between the shapes, the colors, and the notational marks employed by the artist. The artist’s intention to base the themes in his compositions on the universal forces of creation, and destruction, is communicated obliquely by the discreet abstract shapes that define the surfaces of the paintings via their warm and cool hues. These forms make for the prevailing impact of the works while the notations play a subordinate role in the format.” – Mary Hrbacek, M Magazine
“There are dialectical foundations and tensions in my work: order and chaos, destruction and regeneration, reality and fantasy, logical and illogical space, deep space and flat space, densely colored areas and deep receding space, gestural paint handling and more ordered/broken down flat areas, the mechanical and the hand made gesture.”
– Noah Landfield, 2010
“Noah Landfield’s work is sophisticated, consistently rigorous, and well executed. He is a master at expressing thoughts and feelings through the language of color and the complexity of place. He is an artist who is curious and experimental and who works very hard and intensely on articulating his vision. His work has a quick grasp of difficult conceptual issues as they relate to his personal and compelling abstract paintings. Noah’s work stands out as combining the visual with the musical and with the literal…in extraordinary articulations…”
– Ronnie Landfield, 2021
This show would not have been possible without the love and support of the following individuals and organizations:
Thank you to my wife Nagisa Landfield and my three wonderful daughters Reina, Akina, and Canna. Thank you to Ronnie and Jenny Landfield, Matthew Landfield, Caitlin Barton-Landfield, Ben Landfield, David Solomon, Richard Wager, Mike Hein, Kevin Noble, David Headley, Mark and Barbara Golden, Gabriele Evertz, Stephen Davis, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Chashama and everyone at the Findlay Galleries. I would also like to dedicate this show to the memory of Jack Whitten with whom I studied at the School of Visual Arts and also Richard Timperio who exhibited my work for the first time in 2002.
all images © the gallery and the artist(s)