Santa Fe artist Sam Scott’s new body of work on view at Pie Projects, Mind/Mirror, is an invitation to peel back visual layers and a journey into the very essence of abstraction.
Sam Scott: New and Timeless Paintings
March 12–April 16, 2022
Pie Projects, Santa Fe
In 1969, Sam Scott left behind the gray, man-made canyons of New York for the inspiring high desert of Santa Fe where he began a new quest into the creative unknown. His response to the land spurred a highly personal style of fleeting impressions—what Willem de Kooning called “slipping glimpses.’’
Whether Sam Scott’s paintings are about the seasons, the desert storm, or the human spirit, his palette and compositions bring the viewer face to face with the artist’s interior spaces. At heart, Scott is a nature painter and colorist, but his unique style can be best described as lyrical abstraction. “Quite possibly, he is New Mexico’s greatest practicing landscape artist, even though scenic vistas rarely occur as such in his paintings. Instead, he plunges into the depths of nature’s dynamism, attuning himself to its irrepressible formative energies, its internal violence and fertility, its tenderness, and its voluptuous beauty” wrote art historian, critic, and editor William Peterson.
Scott’s teachers Grace Hartigan, Clyfford Still, and Philip Guston deeply influence his work, while great European masters such as Velazquez inspire his every brush stroke.
Sam Scott’s new body of work, Mind/Mirror, is incredibly powerful. Each painting has a presence that is difficult to describe and is an invitation to peel back visual layers, a journey into the very essence of abstraction. The work is lyrical, deliberately geometric at times, with dynamic defined lines and realms of color. There is structure in the brush strokes that are physical, passionate, and at times rough-hewn. Then, there is stillness within the compositions with mysterious volumes that are radiant and hold trapped light, defining an ineffable presence where opposites embrace. Scott says, “I wanted to create a luminous doorway in a rich field of energized, sumptuous, almost operatic color. A great painting must tremble. If you sit with it, it starts to acquire its own life. I want my paintings to become beautiful slowly, and then stay beautiful.”
In his fifty-five-year career, Sam Scott has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally and was among the first artists to represent New Mexico at the Whitney Museum Biennial of Contemporary Art in New York. He has been recognized for his work by the French government with awards and exhibitions. He is one of five artists in various media who have been chosen to represent the Capitol Art Collection as a State Treasure of New Mexico.
His latest show, Sam Scott: New and Timeless Paintings, highlights his mastery as a painter and the emotive, lyrical range of his work. It is on view through April 16 at Pie Projects gallery, 924B Shoofly St, Santa Fe.