Art New Mexico: Scott Greene
The monsoon season is late in coming this summer, but the rains are finally upon us. Scott Greene (NAP # 18, #30, #54, #66, #78, #96, #108) has been imagining this deluge for some months, as he works on a large painting in his studio just north of ABQ. His work is shown with regular frequency in San Francisco, to the point where it might be easy to think of him as a Bay Area artist, but he has been rooted in New Mexico since completing his MFA in painting from the University of New Mexico. – Diana Gaston, New Mexico Contributor
Greene's Deluge painting is modeled after Leonardo's chalk drawings, a source far removed, but oddly prescient of contemporary experience. The deluge that Greene describes is one of our own making, and he renders the glut of consumer goods, abandoned technology, and urban detritus with the same fascination that Leonardo imagined the physical force and destruction of a flood, brooding over the subject during the last years of his life.
I saw the painting in process earlier this summer, while the underpainting of the canvas and raw color were still evident. Greene works with the meticulous layering and discipline reminiscent of Northern Baroque painting, a rare sensibility that makes the rush of contemporary jetsom all the more disconcerting. As he works through this stage of the painting, he describes the unfolding composition as a storm of biblical proportions. "My friend described it as an end-of-the-world painting in pastels," he writes, "I do think the subject resonates with the political and environmental turbulence right now, so the idea of a deluge is metaphoric on more than one level." There is a dark humor at work in the delicate fleshy pinks, colliding forms, and luminous skies. Greene serves up a torrent of imagery, offering many layers to unpack from the seductive brushwork.
Diana Gaston is the Director of Tamarind Institute, a division of the College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico. She previously served as Lead Curator of the Fidelity Investments Corporate Art Collection in Boston.