Dreamscapes, paintings by Bethany Peck

February 14 - March 9, 2019

Loyalty and Ashes
Loyalty and Ashes
oil/mixed media and copper leaf on birch panel
(click to enlarge)

Beauty in distress is much the most affecting beauty.
—Edmund Burke, from A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757)

For much of history up through the late Renaissance, depictions of landscapes served as incidental or, in some cases, allegorical backgrounds to the primary subject matter of paintings. Landscape as a specific genre evolved gradually, introducing styles and aesthetic principles that often reflected philosophical, political, and societal preoccupations of the times.

Reliance
Reliance
oil/mixed media on mounted copper sheet
(click to enlarge)

The highly influential treatise penned by Edmund Burke (attributed in the opening quotation) introduces the concept of the sublime that, as distinct from a beauty defined by the harmony of color and shape, elicits ineffable responses of awe, wonderment, and foreboding. Thematic compositions exploring wild and dramatic terrain increasingly characterized the burgeoning Romantic movement, elevating the genre from subordinate status. The trend found one of its most illustrious practitioners in J. M. W. Turner. His colorful and turbulently expressive landscapes epitomize the style and foreshadow the arrival of Modernism. In America, the landscape painters of the Hudson River School often expressed an affinity with Romantic themes.

Bethany Peck's Western Ave., Lowell studio is home to worlds she paints in a manner that connects with the Romantic tradition. She creates imaginary worlds she calls Dreamscapes. In her words, "I interpret natural elements of Heaven, Earth, and Water to evoke emotion."

Elemental Unwinding
Elemental Unwinding
oil/mixed media and silver metallic on birch panel
(click to enlarge)

Working with surfaces ranging from very large to very small, she combines various mediums with her primary choice of oil paint to striking effect. For this exhibit, she is introducing some recent experiments with painting on panel-mounted copper sheets.

This exhibit is made possible by the Groton Public Library Endowment Trust.

Ken Hansen,
Curator