Matthew Irwin reviews Gregory Botts: The Madrid Group, recently on view at David Richard Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Irwin writes that Botts’s work "provides a different reading of the public performance that is painting outdoors... Plenty of other Western artists depict landscape from within an abstract, or even conceptual, framework, but the work of plein air artists is so easily associated with tourist-driven fall arts festivals. Botts breaks us from this association by questioning his own romantic notions of landscape. He confronts his own presence as an artist in a scenic, mountainous, tourist town...[In] Madrid, Night Studio, All One, Falling #1 ... What appears to be a full quarter of the canvas is black. Taking up a full length and width, it is cut only by white, five-sided stars like those in an illustration for children. The remaining quarter is filled with abstract overlapping shapes in vivid solid colors. We must stand back from the 115-inch-by-73 3/8-inch image, across the gallery, to appreciate that we are viewing a painting of paintings against the dark sky, as if Botts (a student of Fairfield Porter and Paul Georges) is reconstructing the landscape around his studio from memory, while that very same landscape is obscured by night."