Friday, December 7, 2012

Mary Porterfield ~ Nuances of Landscape

Mary Porterfield, Rise and Fall, 2011, Oil on Panel, 48"x 41"

Last night—after work—I took a short ride out to the Koehnline Museum of Art, at Oakton Community College located Des Plaines, Illinois. It’s just a 30-minute ride from downtown Chicago and I knew it would be worth the trip. Mary Porterfield was opening a two-person exhibition titled “Nuances of Landscape”. I’ve worked with Mary in the past and I’ve always been intrigued with the work that she produces. Her imagery possesses a mysterious quality… with dreamlike figures emerging from atmospheric anomalies. Porterfield’s exhibition statement—paraphrased here—reads in-part, as follows:
“My work asks what makes an act “heroic” in the midst of overpowering circumstance—symbolized by natural phenomena such as geysers, storm clouds, and volcanoes… In my paintings, landscapes represent situations beyond my control—literally and figuratively. A closer look reveals that these scenes are actually composed of hundreds of multi-figured narratives. Some depict religious paradigms and saints, whose heroic acts involved giving unconditionally. Other forms represent animals, which symbolize the courage needed to perform a selfless act—and the harm that can result, especially in the midst of futile situations.”
Porterfield’s paintings are presented at the Koehnline Museum with the work of Nina Weiss. It's a beautiful exhibition and well worth the short dive to the suburbs. “Nuances of Landscape” continues through January 25. Oakton Community College is located at 1600 East Golf Road in Des Plaines, Illinois. The Museum hours are Monday-Friday 10-6 and Saturday 11-4. Additional information can be found at You can also view additional work by Mary Porterfield at:

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