Rodney Dickson: Field Report

for knightarts.org by Rodney Dickson, January 2014 AIRIE Fellow

dicksonComing to work in The Everglades National Park has been wonderful.

First thing, leaving freezing New York in January and coming here to the sun is great and the park has been an endless inspiration for my work. Dawn through the pine trees at the studio, dusk over Flamingo Bay, moonlit night in the park teeming with life. The creatures seem to take back the park at night going about their business with curious buzzes, croaks, squawks and water slaps.

Stepping into the river of grass, wading, stick in hand, into the dappled shade of a double cypress dome to find the alligator sunning himself lazily. In contrast there is the human impact on the habitat including the ominous tension of the stories surrounding the Nike Missile base and the looming image of the berm surrounded missile barns which has inspired further reading.

I am not a bone fide landscape painter, mostly I am working in my Brooklyn studio, but the work I am doing there is, in the opinion of most people, rooted in landscape and nature. They are kind of abstract landscapes, but not specific. Mainly, I am trying to develop my fascination with light and space. Since 2010 I have been taking landscape painting trips to the mountains in China where I have been intrigued by the light reflecting through dense mist, a sense of depth without perspective. This has informed my work done back in Brooklyn.

In Florida I am very much impressed, perhaps even shocked, by the intense light and this is what I am focusing on in the work produced here. Dawn, dusk, night time, mid day, the light is sometimes so intense and magical, it obliterates almost all imagery in my work, just a blinding light.