Figures in the Natural World

May 20, 2020

In these two landscapes, we see the relationship between figures and the natural world by their viewpoint, scale and detail.

In Colin Page's painting, Hazel is immersed in nature. She is a part of her surroundings with her blonde hair in the bright yellow grasses, her position below the horizon line, and her scale among the coastal Maine landscape. But she is jubilantly advancing through it. Her rainbow dress and running gait convey optimism. She is an equal character to the grove of trees, the coastal rocks, and the islands in the distance. The painting feels like an allegory for her coming of age. She is of this place, and she is running confidently towards her bright future. 

In Jessica Lee Ives's painting, the hikers on the ridge of Katahdin are small and insignificant against the panoramic mountain. Despite the ostensible subject of this painting, hikers who have scaled Maine's tallest peak, this is not a painting about conquering nature. The big sky and changing weather, the large boulders and wild texture of the grasses all indicate nature's power as transcendent. The ordinary stance of the figures, active and appreciating of their surroundings but small in it, tells of their insignificance.

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