Chuck Beamish & Stefan Berg: The Value of Weather
The Value of Weather is a two-person exhibition of plein air paintings by gallery artists Chuck Beamish and Stefan Berg, who have spent the winter working outdoors: Chuck in the country, Stefan in the city.
Their work recalls John Szarkowski’s description of Ansel Adam’s images: "He photographed not so much geography as weather". Like Adams, Beamish and Berg both return to the same scene over and over again. Sometimes to paint a completely different composition or season, other times to record a certain weather phenomena. However, whereas the camera captures a single frame of time, these plein air paintings weave in moments of time across a day, an afternoon, even a week.
Stefan Berg writes: “As a painter working from life I am interested in perceptual experience. Working outside involves working within the continuum of time, and creating paintings which embody duration. Being there, outside, is very much the point. A number of my paintings are composed of several panels, depicting a panoramic scene over a number of different days. The change in the weather is evident as one panel shows a mound of snow, and the next a thaw, or storm clouds... which transition into clear skies. I am layering several days into a single image. My attention is drawn to places where architecture and nature converge. This is the reality of living in a city; it is impossible to find a place that has not been marked or transformed by humans.”
The exhibition title The Value of Weather resonates in Chuck Beamish’s artist statement: “My aim is to convey the interconnection of dynamic networks: wind, light, temperature, and colour. For me landscape painting is hunting and fishing with visual tools to capture the essence of place and the phenomena of experience. The technology of painting predates that of fire, yet it can hold an instant eternally.”
Chuck and Stefan approach en plein air in very different ways. As Stefan explains: “Chuck’s paintings are done in one session, capturing a moment in flux with an astonishing sense of light and value. I on the other hand revisit my subjects, painting them from the same spot over several sittings on the same board.” Chuck brings to his practice a lifetime of experience camping in Algonquin Park; the familiarity he has with his subject informs his unique ability to capture the isolation and immense beauty of the North with stunning accuracy.