Takeyce Walter is an American artist who publishes her work online on her website and blog. She paints mostly landscapes, working on a variety of themes: rural and farming environment, seasonal changes and water surfaces (sea, rivers, lakes) under varying conditions. The paintings of rivers are the subject of today’s review.
It is difficult to write about these works — it is much easier to experience them. The scenes encourage listening rather than speaking; immobility instead of motion. The duplicate compositional conception of a water plane copying the sky and the trees leads to cogitations on the role of the artist. The mirroring water surface transfers “what it sees” onto its liquid canvas, producing the most believable illusion of three dimensionality. Isn’t it what the artist also strives to do? What is the purpose of a landscape artist — to copy nature as it is, or offer individual interpretations, such as the impressionists did? These paintings do not provide any clear answers; their merit lies in restating the questions.
The artificial vista of light disorientates and appears to play a little trick on the audience. I made an experiment: I viewed the piece from a standing position and from a sitting position. In the former case, the overall sensation was of strange instability, one approximately akin to being in water (standing or swimming) — which generally requires the sharpening of the senses (at least for a landlubber), prompted by the alien environment. The picture was so vivid that I felt a mild rush of adrenaline. Add to this the allusion to the biblical miracle of the parting sea, and you have all the components of a drama. Yet the paintings are evidently the exact opposite — peaceful and quiet.
In the latter case, however, the situation was reverse. Everything seemed to have gone “back to normal:” total stability and calm ruled, as if I was sitting inside a boat, safe and protected. The apparent reason for these changes is the viewing angle: the paintings are suited for observing from a sitting position. But the availability of an alternative adds a touch of provocation, or perhaps even a taunt at our expense. These shifts in perception remind me of anamorphosis, only here it is the viewer who has to undergo a change of perspective, and an emotional one at that.
Technically, the glassy surface carries the burden of land and sky gracefully and without excess ripples. In some parts, the artist makes her brush strokes more discernible where the mirrored blue adjoins the dark green (and black), amplifying the irony of the two bordering each other. Water reflections appear to be one the artist’s specialties, but nowhere does she flaunt her control of the theme; rather, she lets nature speak for itself — and makes the audience listen.