Painting one place while being in another might sound somewhat schizophrenic, but it’s a long and storied practice of landscape artists. It isn’t always practical or even possible to do more than sketch en plein air; the wandering artist can then bring these drawings back to her home studio and apply acrylic to canvas for as long as she needs. For a solo show at Thompson Giroux Gallery in Chatham, NY, now postponed until October 2021, Lily Prince traveled the American West and Southwest, scribbling large candy-hued oil pastels on the side of the road and in the hundred-degree heat of the desert, wherever she found a spot of great natural splendor. Back home in the Hudson Valley, she’s transformed those pictures into even more riotously colorful and patterned acrylic canvases, whose aesthetic debt lies somewhere between Song Dynasty scrolls and Wayne Thibault’s dessert-ification of all things. Despite their good looks, though, several paintings in the American Beauty series run incongruously with drips, as if the trees and mountains were shedding tears. As well they should: no matter how magnificent, there’s no pretending environmental and social destruction hasn’t and isn’t happening in these places, too, ever since the first settlers arrived to decimate indigenous populations.
—Lori Waxman 2020-07-02 9:17 AM