In the hands of Christie Scheele, a landscape painting is much more than the representation of a place. In Scheele’s work place commands attention through the unsentimental tug of memory. Something happened here. Then through a meditative process of stabilization and the passage to a deeper self, memory of time and place gives way to a sense of unimpeded seeing and knowing. I see, I know.
Christie Scheele wasn’t always a landscape painter. Grounded in contemporary art, minimalism, color field abstraction, she first did abstractions and then figurative/narrative work. Landscape came later, when Scheele reached the limits of calculated, self-referential narrative and needed to open things up. Ironically, one of the most traditional of forms proved the most liberating. There was still a sense of narrative, but the specific story dropped away.
The discipline of her academic training—Christie Scheele studied in Spain at the Royal Academy— can be seen in her flawless technique. The years of abstract painting can be seen in the flattened, diffuse and interlocking forms, and in the subtle variations of color. There is a reduction to essentials, an elimination of unnecessary details. Though Scheele plans her work carefully, her road map allows for unexpected turns. Image emerges through process.
There is no nostalgia and no melodrama in Christie Scheele’s work. Factories pop up amongst the trees, because they’re there. We’d prefer a world without smokestacks, but in the right light, smoke is as beautiful as a cloud. It’s all in the openness of seeing without preconceptions.Christie Scheele's Curriculum Vitae...