Peter Gough

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Artist Statement

“It has been said that modern realism begins from the position that truth can be discovered by the individual through the senses.” Ian Watt

I am passionate about what I paint. For as long as I can remember I have always had a reverence for the natural world. I feel drawn and connected to the land and am constantly aware of the primal essence of nature. I note the moods of the changing weather and seasons and marvel how a well-beloved landscape can change it’s appearance from one day to the next, one hour to the next.

As Picasso said, “I don’t search for things, I find them.” Once I get to know an area I recognize almost instinctively what I want to paint. The more familiar you are with an area or landscape, the more aware you are of its details, its nuances. You develop a sense of its intrinsic nature—its soul. And I’ve come to realize that I’m not only trying to portray the visual world in my painting, I’m saying something about my spiritual response to the land and its dynamic harmonies, as well.

My goal as an artist has not been to merely create a detailed likeness of the landscape. Rather I am looking for a dimension, a personality, a mood that resides in each of the places that I paint. And I hope my work encourages the viewer to give serious thought to humanity’s relationship to our natural surroundings – our need to respect, to revere nature.

Although my paintings have been inspired by real places, they serve as metaphors for me, a narrative of my life, about who I am and what's important to me and how I see myself as part of the natural world. I like to paint large canvases, their epic size doing justice to the grandeur of the subject matter- landscapes and seascapes in the romantic landscape tradition. The depiction of light is integral to my painting, and reflects my appreciation for the work of the 'luminists' and the Hudson River school.

When I began painting landscapes I was obsessed with portraying as much detailed realism as possible. And while realism will always be my first love, I am now exploring the possibility of representational painting and abstraction co-existing at the same time and at the same place. Where my realism work is an acknowledgement of the pure grandeur of nature, my abstract work is a recognition of how complex and mysterious the natural world is.

I believe that every work of art should in some way be a revelation. It should change us in some degree–both viewer and artist.