Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Montana Studio: Part Two

This blog post is part of an ongoing series. Click to read Part One

Wallace spends his summers and sometimes a few months out of the rest of the year at his studio in Montana. “I can be totally isolated there for three months at a time. Being in Montana allows me to refresh and recharge, to commune with the quiet landscape. There, it’s just me and the paint.

I paint interiors—the interior of the mind—I’m not painting something specific in terms of landscape or cityscape. Truly, I could paint anywhere. But being in Montana has deeply affected me, and my work, in two ways in particular.

First of all, the light. The light in Montana goes on forever. There’s no pollution. The light changes every time you look at something—it imbues the object you’re looking at, whether that be a tree or a grizzly bear or any of the things you see every day there, there’s a quality that’s almost ethereal. The kind of light that is coming through in my painting now is certainly inspired by that. Without a doubt I owe that quality to Montana, to what Montana gives me.

The second thing is a sense of centeredness. I adore Chicago, I spend more than half my time here, but when you walk through a city, you’re assaulted by it: by the noise, the constant stream of people, the harshness and the structure of the buildings. And sometimes that’s the beauty of it.

In Montana, the property is in the thick of a forest. It’s isolated, it’s mountains, and grizzly bears, and mountain lions, and huge moose, and I don’t have any people around—I can go two or three weeks without ever seeing anybody. I’m alone within this space. I have this sense of awe and reverence. It allows me to be very centered and aware. It compels me to paint. It’s in the air that you breathe, in everything you look at. It brings me back consciously to simply asking, “Why are we here and why are we a part of all of this?”

Simply put, it is the perfect balance in my life, there are no comparisons. Each gives me what I need.”

Return next week to enjoy a slideshow of images of Wallace's studio in Montana.

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