February 27, 2017
By Hadley Nunes
Perceptual painting has an incredible power to embody the sensation of seeing. It has the ability as a medium to capture the way we feel and sense the ephemeral in nature through the attention of the artist’s eye. Time, as the artist observes a scene, becomes visible through the painting as the accumulation of decisions and can reveal something fundamental about how we see through the language of paint. Looking at Caroline Rideout’s work I am instantly reminded of this.
Rideout is originally from the West Coast and joined Lana Lane Studios in November of last year. She studied literature and art history at Reed College and spent time in Marfa, Texas working at The Chinati Foundation in 2012. Her subject is the natural environment here in Hawaiʻi.
Her most recent show was at Hawaiian Airlines and included twelve paintings made over the past five years both outdoors and in the studio. The concept of the show Rideout explains, “was to present local landscapes that honored the forces of light, swell, and wind that shape the Hawaiian Islands.”
At present, she is working on the North Shore of Oahu making paintings of the recently preserved coastal lands around Turtle Bay Resort. For this project, her work in this natural expanse intends to highlight the raw and natural beauty of that particular segment of coastline. These lands were protected from developers in perpetuity based on a 2015 agreement between Turtle Bay Resort and the State of Hawaiʻi—decades of uncertainty for this land’s fate preceded a much celebrated decision from local residents and activists.
Using the mark as a metaphor for more than just the act of seeing, Rideout is interested in “taking the tools that are available—value, composition, shape, color—and using them to create pieces that have a singular effect,” she explains. With a background in poetry, she sees painting as a complementary art form. “I have always been interested in the way that landscape (painting) and natural forms are able to convey metaphysical meaning,” she says.
Sunset Beach painted this year is not about a single moment frozen in time, it shows us the movement of time within it’s self. “I find it interesting to try to capture nature, which is always changing, through a medium that is inherently static—this challenge is really exciting and endlessly engaging for me as an artist.”
Working primarily in oil and watercolor, Rideout aligns aspects of her technique with those pioneered by The Boston School of Painting in the early 20th century. “I find the paintings of John Singer Sargent and Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida to be particularly inspiring. Specifically, their interests in the effects of light, use of vivid colors and expressions of everyday life that are elevated interest me,” she explains.
Her work speaks to a list of exciting painters that pioneered working outdoors—Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Claude Monet are just a few that come to mind. While clearly not limited to a connection to Impressionism through Monet, her work is kindred to his quest to channel the elements through marks intended to create pathways through the painting that reflect the movement (or stillness) of the elements as they were observed in nature.
Her studio practice is as important as the sketches and paintings she develops onsite. “I can often be seen carrying my french easel to the beach or through the forest. While I love the energy that is available from working en plein air, I find that it is vital to bring my work into the studio. In the studio, I’m able to control lighting conditions and other elements, and have more time to carefully polish a painting or create a new composition from my sketches,” she explains.
On the topic of Lana Lane and her studio she tells me that “becoming a member at Lana has had a wonderful impact on my work. I find that there is a certain energy to the space, and it is incredibly inspiring to be around like-minded creative people. All of the Lana Lane members are incredibly warm, welcoming, and humble, and I think it’s really cool that we are able to support one another through our respective creative endeavors.”
We welcome Rideout and her dedicated practice to the Studios!