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Gross McCleaf is pleased to present A Return Home, the first solo exhibition by painter Ann Lofquist since her recent move back to the East Coast. After twelve years in California, Lofquist again embraces her love of the landscape specific to New England and the Shenandoah Valley. Featuring both small panel paintings and large canvases, this exhibit examines the challenges of landscape painting in the hands of a master. Beginning her exploration with small en plein air paintings, Lofquist finds locations that speak to her and offer a range of opportunities for subject and composition, often inviting multiple visits during different times of day and seasons. The task then becomes one of unconscious data-processing as the artist faithfully attempts to capture observations of light, space, and form.

Back in the studio, Lofquist creates her large canvases from memories and information derived from her plein air paintings. Here, she concentrates on mood, composition, and the meticulous application of paint, not seeking to duplicate the practice of being and working outdoors, but to create a new and unique experience for the viewer. In these studio canvases, Lofquist’s depiction of nature is serene and timeless with an integration of raw beauty and man-made domestication. Figures and animals occasionally appear and white-painted farmhouses allude to the inhabitants within. Lofquist says, “I think of plein air paintings as having the ‘freshness of youth’ while studio paintings can have a more mature kind of beauty born from slow consideration….’data’ (the information acquired through direct observation) is filtered through my personal sieve of experience and emotions and resembles more a depiction of a memory of place. When I get it right, I hope people seeing my work experience a ‘shock of recognition’ of a real memory in their own lives, and that my paintings might enrich their future perceptions. I considered it the highest compliment when a friend told me, ‘the light last evening made me feel like I was inside one of your paintings.’”

Lofquist received her BFA from Washington University in Saint Louis and her MFA from Indiana University. Her work has been shown in Philadelphia, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Portland, ME. She has received many fellowships and awards and was included in a major review of contemporary American landscape painters, The Artist and the American Landscape, by John Driscoll. This will be her second solo exhibition at Gross McCleaf.  Lofquist currently resides in western Massachusetts.