Landscapes by two Millbrook artists – Peter Corbin and Trevor McWilliams - are the subject of this autumn’s exhibition at the Millbrook School’s Warner Gallery.
Many of us are familiar with Peter Corbin’s sporting paintings and drawings – primarily of hunting and fishing – set in the landscapes where these sports are practiced. For the past 40 years, Corbin says, “I have had the privilege and pleasure of recording the sporting life, the people who pursue it and the places they love.”
Chance for a Double by Peter Corbin
From the salmon rivers of Canada to the trout streams of the American West to the tidal flats of the Florida Keys Corbin, who says he made his early reputation painting clouds and water, evokes not only the appearance but the atmosphere of these very different locales. The same can be said for his paintings of upland shooting in places as different as the grouse woods of the Northeast to Southern quail country.
Two Fishermen by Peter Corbin
Of his work Corbin says it is “the subject matter and the design is important to me but it is all defined by the light,” be it light coming through trees or light reflected off the water or sparkling in the splash of a jumping fish.
Blue Boats by Peter Corbin
Light is also an important feature of “Reflected Light #2” the piece of abstract sculpture Corbin made some years ago. Fashioned of steel light defines the sinuous curves that spin and twist upon themselves.
Reflective Light # 2 by Peter Corbin
Trevor McWilliams’s landscapes, like Corbin’s, are also distinguished by their treatment of light.
McWilliams, who grew up on the campus of the Millbrook School where his father teaches drawing and printmaking, was a friend of Corbin’s daughter. Corbin, who has been a mentor to the younger artist, gives him the use of the use of his studio whenever McWilliams comes to Millbrook from Portland Oregon where he now lives. However Corbin says, “I told him if he ended up copying my style of painting I would have failed him as a mentor.”
In both his paintings and drawings McWilliams achieves his goal of being “accurate while at the same time conveying the feeling of a place.” Although I have never been to the Pacific Northwest, I recognize at once that it is the subject of many of the works in this exhibition.
Morning Glory by Trevor McWilliams
In his enormous drawing in graphite and charcoal of Scott’s Bluff on the Olympic Peninsula, McWilliams has rendered a sky filled with dramatic banks of clouds that are reflected in the calm water of the ocean. Far in the distance, rocky islands emerge from the sea like ancient fortresses. Another drawing, a worm’s eye view of towering fir trees near the gatekeepers cottage where he lives at the base of Mt. Tabor, McWilliams portrays the majesty of these trees that are so characteristic of that part of America. Their trunks and branches form almost abstract patterns against the pale sky far above.
Many of McWilliams’s drawings are studies for his larger oil paintings. He sometimes paints in the style of Thomas Hart Benton, an artist he especially admires. In “Northeast Bridge Northwest” a blue and green striped river flows beneath a covered bridge. Beyond, a hill is covered with trees that are indicated by circles of varying sizes. Above, a cluster of pale blue clouds echoes the shape of the trees. Far in the distance rises the jagged peak of a snow capped mountain.
Northeast Bridge Northwest by Trevor McWilliams
The sky dominates “The Gorge at Dawn.” A highway bordered by dark fir trees disappears at the base of distant mountains. From above the lavender clouds that billow like smoke, the rising sun blazes forth. Soon it will illuminate the land below.
The Gorge at Dawn by Trevor mcWilliams