Trine Bumiller: This Land

Western History Art Gallery at the Denver Central Library (5th Floor)

September 8 - December 12, 2019

  • Opening Reception: Sunday September 8th from 2-4pm
This Land is the title of the popular song by Woody Guthrie. In it he sings of the incredibly beautiful American landscape repeating that it is land that belongs to us. The original song (including two verses often left out) was considered a protest song against the vast income inequalities that exist in the United States, and against the sufferings of millions during the Great Depression. It seems appropriate to address this with paintings about national parks in a federally owned building. Both are public spaces, both are places that everyone can access and appreciate.

The exhibition includes paintings from several different series, all of which include some direct reference to public lands of the United States. Rocky Mountain National Park, where I was an artist in residence, is represented by many of the100 Paintings for100 Years series, completed during the centennial of the park. A Denali National Park residency appears in the form of several multi-paneled paintings, abstract renditions of facets of the Alaska landscape. Preparatory sketches reveal the process behind the paintings.

To paint a place is to know it and in these paintings, I have tried to depict not just the factual aspects of a landscape but the myriad details and moments that make up one’s personal experience of a place. From reflections in water, to light through branches, to textures of a rock, the paint, applied in many transparent layers, delves into a world beyond what is seen. A memory of the place, as a sensory impression, becomes the historical record. The many paths taken to absorb the different biospheres become evident in the use of multiple panels and seemingly endless repetitions, alluding to the passage of time and the span of distance and area.

To record a place is to commit it to more than memory but to also mark its existence. In this time of diminishing resources and natural spaces, the making of the paintings becomes a ritual, or a prayer, and the outcome becomes both a record of, and an anthem to the environment. That this environment is ours to appreciate, use and learn from, is a parallel to the library itself, a place of public domain, where people come to gain knowledge about worlds beyond their own.  -Trine Bumiller, September 2019

Western History Gallery
Denver Public Library, Central Branch (5th Floor)
10 W. Fourteenth Ave. Pkwy.
Denver, CO 80204
Mon and Tues: 10am - 8pm
Wed to Fri: 10am – 6pm
Sat: 9am – 5pm
Sun: 1-5pm