Unbroken Thread: Nature Paintings and the American Imagination Art Exhibit

Artist Narrative

The present exhibition, Unbroken Thread: Nature Paintings and the American Imagination, the Art of Philip Koch, represents a corpus of artwork created by Koch based onplein-airdrawings and paintings in New England.  All were inspired by the region’s alluring and varied landscape between 2000-2008.

Koch has lived in Maryland since 1973 when he started to teach at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Today, he is a senior professor of fine art and divides his time between teaching and practicing his art as a landscape painter. His New England experiences, the focus of this exhibition, began in 1975 when he first went to Cape Cod.  The area captivated him with its brilliant light, sandy beaches, rolling dunes, and scrubby vegetation.  Soon he further explored the coast to Maine, where the topography was entirely different. The state's coastline inspired him with its towering rocks, often gentle coves, and surging seas. Its pine and birch forested interiors, dappled with numerous lakes and estuaries also brought back memories of his childhood environment in upstate New York, Rochester, by Lake Ontario.  He especially remembers the intimate coves of the lake, its placid waters, and the heavy snowfalls during the winter. 

Koch is reverent of his artistic predecessors. The artwork in this exhibition expresses this fact. He follows in the path of many 19th and 20th century artists who explored New England starting in the 1830s. This exploration continues to hold true today in "an unbroken thread," a tradition of which Koch is part.  However, while Koch‘s soulful art is connected to artists of the past, it is also very much of his own time with its contemporary sensibility and unique stylistic vocabulary. As the artist readily points out: "Nobody would ever mistake my work for the art of the past; I never worry about such things."  The New England vine charcoal drawings, pastels, oil sketches, and studio paintings of this exhibition readily testify to Koch’s artistic excellence and maturity.

Exhibit Dates:

May 4, – June 22, 2008

Opening Reception:

Sunday, May 4, 3 – 5 p.m.


Arts Program Gallery
UMUC Inn and Conference Center, Lower Level
3501 University Boulevard East
Adelphi, Maryland 20783

To RSVP or for more information, call 301-985-7937 or visit the University Arts web site.

Gallery Hours:

9  a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

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