Water assumes a meditative serenity and gentle motion in “A Surface Story” 30×30,” oil on canvas, by Connie Borup. Perched on the bank of this tranquility is found the base of a small aspen with leaves arching over the water. The leaves have an airy randomness casting a capricious reflection on the water. Only with this essential reflection are the distinctive qualities of this surface made manifest.
Landscape painting is the primary art subject of Utah’s past and present. It becomes difficult for any of the numberless landscape artists to make a significant mark of distinction- few truly stand out from the rest. Without preconceived techniques or inventive processes, Borup is never the less a seasoned standout landscapist, currently with a solo show at Phillips Gallery. How she manages to accomplish the exceptional requires a unique vision of her subject. Instead of altering it, as landscape painting is most often approached methodologically, she works with it to create a composition that is lush and clear, and makes manifest the natural essential substance.
“A Surface Story” is featured along with canvases of equally rich and lucid surface views of water synergized with their immediate environments-flora, boulders, reflections, grasses- acting as a proscenium for the water. As the focus, water is in essence brought to life by reflection, light, shadow, ripple, current, or variation in hue and tonality. Along with the elemental, the environmental features appear purposeful in the realization of what would be only a mass of color, to reveal the beauty and wondrous phenomena of each unique surface. What is most often facilitated by landscape artists to serve in accentuating that beyond it is instead explored for the natural substance of it.