a true wilderness heart
28 april – 11 june, 2011
Lachlan Goudie’s first exhibition at Elizabeth Harris (‘Dreaming Places’, 2009) was inspired by sepia photographs of Ocean liners slipping down the Hudson, pioneering flights across the Alps and journeys into the ice-bound arctic. This series of paintings celebrated his nostalgia for an impossible, lost world of romance, travel and adventure.
Subsequently Lachlan has continued to use archival imagery as the departure point for his work. The photographs of E.A. Hegg, documenting the 19th Century Klondike Gold rush in the Yukon, inspired him to set off on his own journey into the wilderness and in the fall of 2010 he spent a month travelling through the Rocky Mountains. His journey took him from the Columbia Ice fields of Alberta, Canada, across the mountains and onto the open ranges of Montana then back once again into the peaks of Northern Wyoming. It was a route that followed the now clearly signposted footsteps of those early pioneers, Klondikers and settlers.
The sketches and studies Lachlan produced on the road provide the background for a new exhibition of wilderness landscapes. This contemporary depiction of the American North West is sparsely populated with the trappers and adventurers mythologized by 19th Century photography. Lachlan’s paintings explore the tension that exists between our nostalgic vision of an untamed land and the carefully controlled, cropped pictures that have always been employed to communicate this ideal to an audience of urban dwellers.
In the words of James Fenimore Cooper, ‘A True Wilderness Heart’ is not an easy quality to acquire. Today, more than ever, our experience of ‘the Free Northwest’ is communicated to us only through the prism of history and the imagination. These paintings are intended to continue that journey into the sublime; the landscape that seduces and intimidates and which blows a breath of wild air into our carefully composed, contemporary world.
Lachlan Goudie lives and works in London, England. He exhibits regularly in the capital and in his hometown of Glasgow, Scotland.
The gallery is located at 529 West 20th Street, 6th floor, and is open Tuesday through Saturday 11-6. There will be a reception for the artist on Thursday, April 28, from 6-8 pm.