Daniel Gottsegen

A Walking Life

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Oil on canvas

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My work has long been based on my active engagement with the natural environment. It has been influenced by week or longer, completely solitary hikes in the high Sierra and other wild places, traveling miles off marked trails, camping and painting alone, often above ten-thousand feet, and my ongoing wilderness wanderings and meditations.

My recent work is influenced by my return to the natural landscape of the Northeast after twenty years in California. I often derive images by “capturing” stills from video that I shoot. This allows me to find surprising compositions and qualities.  In the “Die Wanderungen” series I combine and overlap images, often improvisatorially. The act of painting is for me much like the walking and seeking I have done in the natural world. Bits of imagery, often rising from deep within my memory, circulate in my paintings, as I find harmonies and relationships that reveal to me beauty and truth. I am interested in painting that is luminous. I am interested in painting that explores the ways in which we see, I see, and experience the world. I am drawn to paint itself, to its material qualities. And in my work I often work in the nexus between digital and painterly visual language.

An earlier raptor series reflects my experience for over a decade trapping, banding, measuring, and releasing hawks in California’s Marin Headlands to study their migration patterns. My involvement in this study was born out of many powerful encounters with owls and hawks that I had been having for years. This experience still informs much of my work.

As an artist, my time is spent in lone conversation with my work, in quiet. As I am working each painting is a thing of potential power, a thing of desire without need.

Painting, seeking, and wandering in the wild are all of a piece. For me painting is a process of searching and an act of revelation. It is a physical, improvisatory practice. Through my work I seek understanding and find connection.