Meditations on moments in the Landscape
Solo Exhibition | Fred Easker
- Exhibit Dates: August 20- October 2, 2021
- Facebook Live walk-through: August 20th, 5:30pm CST WATCH
- Reception: September 17th, 5:00-7:30pm
Exhibit Info & Statement
Meditations on Moments in the Landscape
August 20 - October 2, 2021
Meditations on Moments in the Landscape
About 30 years ago, I issued a simple challenge to myself: create ten landscape paintings.
I had already produced lots of other kinds of work in other media so this was something very new.
The idea came from studying the magnificent work of the 19th century Hudson River School painters and spending a lot of time commuting through the Iowa landscape. Now, some 300 landscape paintings later, I am still visually excited and inspired by the natural world around me…and still learning.
Each canvas presents questions to be answered and problems to be solved: How do I present what inspires me? How do I represent the light? How do I catch the energy? Where will I get that color?
These days I am inspired by the landscape of northeast Iowa and the remarkable, unique and beautiful Driftless Region along the Mississippi River in the northeast corner of Iowa. It is where I spend about a third of my time. The area is a very spiritual place and has a unique energy that must have been felt by the early inhabitants. They left effigies on the unique topography which was shaped by water rather than glacial action or seismic shift. It is home to hundreds of species of wildlife and is the annual migratory path of thousands of birds. And there are people living there, sometimes tucked away in the coulees, who are profoundly connected to the place. I feel good there.
My work is based on photographs that I take as I travel through the landscape. Sometimes I return to a site multiple times. A photograph records an instant in time. In my studio I reconstruct the multiple photos taken at a site into a composition that becomes the principal reference for my oil paintings. While working I often refer to parts of many photographs. As I strive to interpret what I see with oil paint, my process becomes a meditation on the instant captured by the camera.
A painting is my way of sharing my experience of that meditation. I linger, I discover, and I savor the visual delights that emerge as I try to look into, rather than at, the images that are the basis of my work. I present them with precision and craftsmanship so that the painting can become a guide for others into the discernible and subtle wonder available in the natural world.
About the Artist
Fred's landscapes offer an extraordinary view into the ordinary. Drawing on familiar scenes from the back roads of his native eastern Iowa, he explores both the aesthetics and the character of the place, offering a keen meditation on the power, vulnerability, and eloquence of this beautiful land.
The paintings of Fred Easker are included in museum, corporate and private collections throughout the Midwest and has appeared in a number of periodicals and books. He was an Arts Midwest/NEA Regional Visual Arts Fellowship recipient in 1997. He was featured as an “Iowa Master” in a series produced by Iowa Public Television. Recently he was commissioned by the General Services Administration to create a painting for the United States Federal Courthouse in Cedar Rapids. Over the span of his career he has worked with private galleries in New York, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Tulsa, Des Moines, and Cedar Rapids. The artist holds a BA and MA in Art Education from the University of Iowa.
Fred Easker has been painting full time since 1994. Like most artists he had previously worked at other things including: art instructor at Linn Mar Community Schools; Assistant Director, Cedar Rapids Art Center; and Director, Marion Historical Museum, Inc., a non-profit that owns Granger House, a 19th century middle class house museum located in Marion, Iowa which was completely renovated under Easker’s guidance.
The artist resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he grew up and actively participates in the life of his community by working on boards and organizations involved in the arts, historic preservation and the humanities and was awarded the Friend of the Arts Award from Marion Fine Arts Council in 1993. His wife Velga who was born in Latvia is also an artist. Recently the couple recently established a part time working studio in Lansing, Iowa, an historic small town located in northeast Iowa on the Mississippi River. They have one son and a new grandson who live in the Denver area of Colorado.