Relaying the “Inner Poetry” of Landscape, and of Himself

“Our culture and society have chosen entertainment over enlightenment, but we are still hungry for a sincere, honest, and soulful exchange through man’s best efforts. Painting is the perfect medium for this exchange.” Wow. Such words are not heard often in contemporary art, and it is characteristic of the landscape painter Daniel W. Pinkham (b. 1952) to utter them with neither pride nor malice. The triumph of mediocrity and falseness in mainstream American life is universally acknowledged, epitomized most crassly by television’s “reality shows,” which could hardly be more un-real. Sincerity, then, is in short supply, and doing one’s best, rather than one’s speediest, is oft discussed but seldom delivered.

Still more startling to some may be Pinkham’s assertion that it is a painter — rather than, say, a filmmaker—who is ideally positioned to establish a direct and profound line of communication between himself and the viewer. His pictures, he goes on to explain, deal not only with beauty and emotion, but also “with rest, peace, and a quietness of spirit. The landscapes themselves become a springboard to induce this sense, which is almost a state of mind. This is something I have experienced out in the field, and my work is my way of bringing it back and giving it to others.” In this scenario, intermediaries just get in the way: there is no need for a wall label or docent to convey the essence of Pinkham’s landscapes, what he calls their “inner poetry.” Seasoned as he is, the artist claims that each painting reveals to him something new about himself. This is not a production line, but a lifelong series of journeys: “The aims of my paintings are the same as of my life: to create a visible line of emotion that exposes my divine nature and reinforces the existence of that relationship.”

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