16 Miles: Contemporary Landscapes
On view through June 30
Robert Lange Studios
151 East Bay St.
A modest collection of paintings by JB Boyd now on display at the Robert Lange Gallery titled 16 Miles does not reflect our troubled times. Instead it focuses on the calm beauty of South Carolina's natural environment, a feat accomplished in part by Boyd's keen manipulation of light and color.
Some paintings gaze from the sky, as if Boyd had painted perched on a tree limb. Others find him belly-down in the grass, the soil his easel.
16 Miles chronicles the land and water between the Barrier Islands. The paintings are Boyd's latest installment of photorealist work that settles into areas of beauty both serene and haunting.
Viewers can spend a long moment staring into "A Quiet Place to Sit and Rest," a meditative painting that captures the reflection of trees in the marsh, and remember the last time they got away from it all. Or maybe the terrific cloudburst in "Monday," a small painting that shows the bright white of a fat cumulous cloud exploding over still, dark waters, will provoke some long lost childhood memory. "Sunken Treasure" shows an orange sun dipped in water, the trees and grass standing by in forlorn salute, allowing us to recognize the power and elegance of an everyday occurrence. "Dreamer in My Dreams" shows an overcast sky and percolating waters. The painting does not move, but Boyd's skill allows us to feel the tremble in the air, the anxious energy of a storm about to crash.
Since 2005, Boyd has created consistent work from a variety of locations. "The Africa Paintings," "Sea Change," and "Trees," each originally shown at the Robert Lange Gallery, present an artist whose wanderlust is stabilized by measured technique.
And his technique is impressive — some paintings are so realistic, they appear to be photographs — but, like a scenic travelogue, Boyd's paintings can escape your attention, they can slip by without compelling you to pause.
To avoid glossing over this pleasurable collection, spend a moment watching the news. The troubles that surround us seem insurmountable, our future is uncertain, and the fate of the planet is at risk.
16 Miles is a reminder to reflect on things that give us peace.