richard  garrison

The subjects of my first serious attempts at painting were straightforward representations of trees in landscape. After primarily painting the figure for many years, I returned to that original subject matter, focusing on individual trees without any landscape context, and involving the tree as a symbol of the essence of nature, growth, randomness, and order.

With my current work that I call TREESCAPES, the focus has narrowed further to small sections of limbs as frameworks upon which I build abstract compositions using colors associated with different seasons and times of day. The lines and shapes of these compositions rendered in oil stick, paint, and sometimes collage, remind me of a large stain glass window with highly abstracted imagery in the church in which I grew up. This aspect, in a way, enhances the symbolic sense of God in Nature.

In 2020 my wife and I moved into a house on a spacious wooded plot outside of Chapel Hill, NC adjacent to Nature Conservancy land. My work seems like a natural pursuit underneath the towering canopy of hardwoods that surrounds me. I am fascinated with the timeless aspect of that canopy, the seeming chaos of lines guided by a certain order, the natural thrust toward light while rooted firmly in the Earth, the morphic similarities with circulatory and nervous systems, lightning, the movement of water through the landscape, veining in rock, and the strength, the grace, and the beauty in nature. All this reminds me daily of the need to protect and preserve the natural world around us, which in essence is a matter of the preservation of ourselves as parts of the whole.
-Richard Garrison