Shifting Ground


Shifting Ground

Contemporary Landscapes by Paula Chamlee, Alan Goldstein, and Paul Matthews

December 14, 2008 - March 1, 2009

Lead sponsor, Mr. & Mrs. W. Scott McGraw and Carolyn M. McGraw. Additional support from Andrew M. Rouse and Richard & Donna Shindell.

To many, the term ‘art’ is synonymous with landscape painting. From the quiet spaces captured by the Dutch Baroque artists, to the sweeping vistas of the Romantic painters, artists for centuries have represented the natural environment in all its beauty and grandeur and in doing so have captivated the imaginations of countless viewers. In our own backyard, the Pennsylvania Impressionists collectively found inspiration in the hills, fields and streams of the Bucks County region. In Shifting Ground, this landscape tradition continues and is extended through the eyes of three contemporary Bucks County artists.

From Iceland to Tuscany, Paula Chamlee has photographed landscapes all over the world. Her images not only reveal the beauty of a particular region, but also establish abstract visual relationships between places.

Alan Goldstein has long been inspired by Eastern traditions of landscape imagery, and his ethereal paintings act as meditations on the cycles of life.

Paul Matthews, making both representational and abstract paintings, focuses on parts of trees, rivers and clouds, and invites us to consider the small things in nature that we often overlook.

These three distinguished Bucks County residents are exploring very different artistic territory, yet the exhibit reveals each artist’s love and appreciation of nature.

‘Shifting Ground’ was part of Shift: Investigations in Contemporary Art, a series of exhibitions, lectures and related programs that look at dominant themes in art history through the lens of contemporary artworks. ‘People often lose sight of the fact that Bucks County’s famous landscape painters were once considered avant-garde. Today’s cutting edge is tomorrow’s tradition,’ says Brian H. Peterson, the Museum’s Senior Curator. ‘We all need to pay attention to what artists are doing right now—they have much to teach us about who we are. Shift is an exciting program that explores the contemporary scene with insight and vision, and we look forward to an increasing emphasis on contemporary art at the Michener.’ The intention of this project is to raise awareness of current trends in the art world. This new initiative is spearheaded by Kristy Krivitsky, the Museum’s Associate Curator of Contemporary Art.