Artist Statement by Walter Gadsby
My interest in the landscape and the place of humanity within it has always been at the center of my artistic practice. The flexibility and freedom I have had to develop my own process this semester has allowed me to immerse myself fully in these themes and go beyond the ways of working with traditional landscape painting that have for so long been my focus. While also inevitably influenced by the constraints of working remotely, this series represents the result of new paths of exploration and experimentation. Loosely based on Thomas Cole’s Course of Empire, a five-painting series which documents the rise, peak and eventual destruction of a fictional empire of the ancient world, my series likewise documents these stages of societal development. Seeking to capture our modern era, I built up these five pieces using a combination of digital painting and virtual collage to create landscapes which refer back to traditional notions of the picturesque and the sublime. While I had initially imaged these as involving an element of more traditional oil painting, for now they exist as digital works.