From booth #129, one might take respite from the wealth of frenzied painting with a saner offering of sensuous, nuanced, calming and lushly articulated landscape painting by Scott Hale. Anyone acquainted with Utah art history might notice a difference in these landscapes -- and indeed, Hale is a painter from Bozeman, Mont.; these are not Utah landscapes, but depictions of natural Montana. A singular difference is that Utah landscapes usually have a prototypical rear ground (a mountain), a middle ground and a foreground. This is not the case for Hale’s work; the artist says that the mountains of Montana are not like the mountains of Utah, are on a much smaller scale and cannot compete with the grandeur that he sees in the Wasatch Front.
Yet there is grandeur in Hale’s work. “For me, the mountains are there, but I like to find other elements that play a role,” said Hale. This quality is definitive of his landscapes, which abound with limitless vicissitudes of the natural world. While a particular mountain may not be grandiose, he creates beautiful shapes of black and white against the brown, a large and expressive sky, a river that rings with flecks of pastel color, trees that are articulated by broad shapes of light or dark, and a foreground of expressively colored brush. Another subject may be simply a hill with a minimalist quality that is beautifully reduced to basic structural components of contour delineated by light and shade.
Said Hale, “I enjoy the abstract quality like the Madison Plateau and the mixture of the Rocky Mountain Junipers with the hills.” These abstract qualities and the attention to the variety and abundance of the natural landscape makes Scott Hale’s landscapes beautiful, interesting, contemplative and charged with an abstracted quality that encourages a flow of meaning from the engaged viewer.
If fine painting interests you and you want to see some of the best at the Festival, stop by booth #129 and say hi to Scott. Don’t rush through; take a moment to look, ponder and engage. The closer you look, the more beautiful and impressive these paintings become.