With a very considered approach, Paul Anthony Rouphail depicts the American landscape in his gouache paintings. I love the texture he is creating within blocks of colour with his brushstrokes, seen especially well in the close ups provided on his site. He tells us more about a famous artist he is inspired by, and how a move to Peru has affected his work.
“I have recently become enamored with the work of Caspar David Friedrich. I am particularly fascinated by his propensity for symmetry, and his capacity to turn vastness into singularity. Friedrich urged his pupils and contemporaries alike to make pictures that exhibited seelenvoll: literally “full of soul”. I have attempted to follow, however crudely, this somewhat brazen request.”
“Traditionally, I’m an oil painter. Since moving to Lima, Peru, however, where my ‘studio’ doubles as studio apartment, I’ve had to trade in my toxic oils for water soluble gouache. This transition has had a profound effect on my work as I have had to approach each painting with more diligence and precision.
Gone are the days of preemptively throwing down whatever ground, or whatever tone. With gouache, one cannot layer (very well) so each stroke has to be accurate and considered.”
“I find that my task as a painter is to recover the presence of a place; in a sense, to give it back its name.
To engage this sort of role, to personify the inorganic, is to enter into the subterranean world of objects and their occult presence within the natural world. My work investigates the American landscape as a zone of contrariety: the militarized testing ground versus the site of the sublime spiritual encounter; the American West as real estate commodity versus mystical and metaphysical space. I attempt to exhibit in my work a sense of expansive space.”
“Concurrently, my work exemplifies the tradition of the American landscape with a sense of anxiety; the presence of familiar commercial advertisements beaconing over the ambiguous and harsh terrain that expand beyond them. I attempt to imbue the landscape with a sense of terror, a palpable tension, an allusion to a violent past and an unexpected future. These two opposing forces work as one or as a duet, perhaps a calamity of the serene and the sublime.”
© Paul Anthony Rouphail, 2011.