Beautiful paintings of nature ravaged by human schemes pull viewers in opposite directions. We’re repelled by the truth that we've inflicted enormous wounds on the landscape, whether indirectly, through our choices as consumers, or directly. Yet the beauty of the paintings draws us in.
The effect is a curious excitement, an energy that keeps the eye and mind awake and alert. A more conventional, message-driven artist might choose to paint clearcut hillsides with their mudslides and ghostly stumps, confronting viewers with a despairing dead end or with a push to join a save-the-earth movement. In such images we know exactly what we're seeing and what we're supposed to think.
Philip Govedare's work provokes more questions than answers. The landscape in each painting is a distillation of light, color, line, and shape that tips reality toward abstraction and gives the imagination room to work.
For example, "Excavation #6" (below) both is and isn't an image of an open-pit