Paul Havas recent paintings, at Gordon Woodside/John Braseth Gallery in Seattle, present an interesting array of new landscapes, and an engaging departure from previous work.
Many of the new works stress the horizontal visual structure of vast landscapes, with the careful modulations of field and waterway, the gentle curving silhouettes of island and distant mountain, presenting compliment rather than counterpoint to the lazy ornament of cloud.
Even when the peaceful horizontal line and plane are contradicted by an exaggerated verticality in some of these compositions, the rigid formalism merely serves to emphasize the recumbent topography. In another painting, the flat terrain is underpinned by a frieze of upright grasses, suggesting an enormous energy supporting an implacable calm.
The reception for the exhibition, held on March 6, was attended by many artists, a tribute to Havas’ position in the region’s cultural firmament. He is, without argument, the Poet Laureate of the Pacific Northwest landscape.