My paintings could be said to be about the connection between humans and our environment. The places we experience and the human mind are two strands intertwined: what we know of places is determined by the workings of our brains, and our brains are in turn shaped by the places we experience. Like other organisms, we are bound biologically to our ecosystems, but we do more than merely seek trees because of our genes. We can become attached to any location we have known, whether natural or not, because places are sticky with nostalgia and memory, longing and mystery. As a painter I am interested in the ways in which landscape paintings can cut into these relationships, to convey some of the experience of actual landscapes.
Recently my paintings have been influenced by a break in the connections, when this year an airborne additive to the ecosystem made the world temporarily contract. Painted in a pandemic, these works are weighted by the gravity of the times, heavy with my longing to expand my view. The connections to the places I have known are stuck in my head, just as I am stuck in one place, and for me these paintings can serve as a reminder that the world is more than merely that which is near. Many of these paintings are of imagined landscapes, scenes one might someday see, like memories twisted loose from the future or dreams sprung from the coils of human DNA. Others are remnants of the past, postcards from before the pandemic. They are all representations of what it might like to be in other places, places which - even if they only ever existed in imagination - are somehow still there. -Todd Carpenter
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