From bold, monumental canvases to quiet, intimately scaled watercolors, Brooke Lanier demonstrates an extraordinary artistic range in her paintings of the American wetlands. She paints from direct observation en plein-air (outdoors in the open landscape), as well as from memory, both recent and distant, in her studio. When working from observation, Lanier often produces naturalistic interpretations of the landscape, particularly those that focus on a single, studied element – a cluster of stones, a patch of reeds, the horizon at sunset – rendered with compelling precision. This naturalism, however, gradually gives way to abstraction in her studio work. A tangle of seaweed grows into a series of repeated geometrical forms, reflections of light on the water melt into pure surface pattern, and the simple contour of a johnboat’s stern or dock’s railing completes an arrangement of interlocking geometric shapes.
Even more adventurous are Lanier’s “interrupted landscapes.” Compiled from a series of disparate but related landscape fragments layered one over another in a collage-like structure, these experiments in composition emerge primary from the artist’s personal experiences -- places she’s visited, landscapes of her childhood, and photographs she has collected. This personal dimension to Lanier’s landscapes is an important part of what makes her paintings resonate among a broad audience. Despite the specific sites they depict, Lanier’s paintings have nonetheless evoked viewers’ own various memories of the Carolina Lowcountry, the Midwestern Great Lakes, the Pacific Coast salt marshes, and even the Hungarian river’s edge. Though we may not share the artist’s private experiences, we still sense a familiarity in her work. We can imagine ourselves in her landscapes, and find ourselves at home.