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The Lucid Mark: 15 Years of Painting by Dennis Pinette


"The Lucid Mark: 15 Years of Painting by Dennis Pinette" opens at the Farnsworth Art Museum on Sunday, August 3, in the Crosman and James, Galleries and will remain on view through November 2, 2003.

A passionate appreciator of the work of Charles Burchfield, Albert Pinkham Ryder and George Inness, Pinette revels in "the crudeness, the brashness of their painting, which he say, "is articulate but doesn't ask any more of itself than what it is. Inness, whose sensuous approach to the landscape mirrors Pinette's own, is a particular interest. "I look at his landscapes as armatures for what goes on in his head. Really good, successful landscape painting is where the subject itself disappears, as if the subject is an excuse to create a dream.

Over the fifteen-year time span the exhibition embraces, Pinette's paintings have hovered entrancingly between dream and reality, the subjects segueing from the early industrial scenes to the fields and the fires of the mid to late 1990s, and from these to the more recent paintings of woodland interiors and stormy, turgid seas.

While the subjects have shifted over time, the development of Pinette's work feels logical and inevitable, due to the consistency of viewpoint, facture and workmanship, the "lucid marks which are the artist,s signature. His highly energized paintings of industrial plants and factories are works that demonstrate his fascination with the interface between man and the landscape and the transformations the interface engenders. Pinette looks for more than a traditional rendering in his "Field series, challenging with poetic evocations the Maine landscape genre with a reconfigured image of what a subject might express. Of his recent paintings of the sea, Pinette says, "The theme is that brooding feeling which I've managed always to keep intact the sense of foreboding and mystery that,s always there.

A more subtle change in Pinette's work than his subjects has been the increasing diversity and daring of his mark making. Pinette uses paint as a poet does words, speaking clearly to others of his personal experiences of time and place. Always a skillful, sure painter, Pinette's repertoire with brush and paint is now breathtaking in its range and confidence. Jeanne Wilkinson in her essay for the catalog accompanying Pinette's 1996 exhibition at Rosenberg & Kaufman Fine Art, New York City, wrote of his ability "to find a lucid mark, a common denominator of language. It is as a mark maker that Pinette communicates, expressing in paint the rich amalgam of the physical world and his own intensely romantic vision that is his art.

In his essay for the collection catalog "The Lucid Mark," Alan Crichton observes, "Pinette's work has grown in obvious technical virtuosity. Perhaps more importantly, through an ever-increasing depth of conviction and simplicity, his practice invites the viewer into intense participation.

Dennis Pinette attended Hartford Art School, Hartford, Connecticut. He resides in Belfast, Maine. Funding for this exhibition has been provided in part by the Davis Family Foundation.

In association with "The Lucid Mark," Pinette will present a slide lecture on Wednesday evening, August 6, at 6 p.m. in the Farnsworth auditorium. The lecture will provide an overview of Pinette,s artistic evolution.

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