Land Passages, an exhibition of new paintings by Minnesota artist, Andrew Wykes, opens March 4 at the Groveland Annex. A transplant from the United Kingdom, Wykes was born just outside of London and studied fine art at the Epsom School of Art and Design. He received his MFA in painting from American University in Washington, DC, and has taught art for twenty-five years in schools and colleges in England, Belgium and the United States. He is a recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Initiative Grant and in 2009 he was awarded a fellowship from the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Mayo, Ireland. Wykes lives in Northfield and currently teaches painting at Hamline University in St. Paul.

For this exhibition, the artist depicts the prairie views near his Northfield home as well as sweeping views of the Mayo countryside in Ireland where he completed his fellowship last summer. Painted with heavy impasto, Wykes structures his paintings with palette knife scrapes, introducing rhythmic lines and facets of lively color into his compositions. This contemporary approach to the genre of landscape paintings gives Wykes’ images a unique aesthetic, one that is rooted strongly in the gesture of drawing and reveals the energy inherent in quiet, rural vistas.

Drawn to creating a strong sense of place, Wykes’ paintings reveal his attachment to the landscapes he has called home. His approach to painting also unearths deeply imbedded recollections of the landscapes of his youth. The artist explains:

“I have always been conscious of what I bring to the landscape before me. My cultural and geographical influences certainly play their part of how I view my surroundings, but there is also my personal visual history and emotional recollections from the past. These are hazy memories, often lodged deep in my unconscious and, at best, I have only vague ideas about their sources. But these states of mind are charged with palpable feelings that are set off unexpectedly during the act of looking and painting the land before me: how the brilliant midday sun is absorbed into the night dark foliage of an aging oak tree; the distant hum of a pale blue horizon seen unexpectedly from around a corner.”

The artist will be present at the opening reception Friday, March 4 from 5-8 pm. This opening reception and exhibition run concurrently with Transience, a show of new paintings by Charles Lyon in the main gallery.