Gallery One announced its Vanishing Landscapes exhibition is on view through Tuesday, Nov. 1.
To vanish is to cease to be, to pass out of existence or notice. This month, the artists of Gallery One are attempting to capture for posterity the local landscapes that are being lost to time and weather. Everywhere one turns today, another swath of farmland has morphed into a housing development, permanently replacing the seasonal crops of green and gold as well as the familiar cows and other livestock with vast acres of identical “homes at the beach.” The classic architecture and rich history of barns and outbuildings is disappearing. Marshlands and their ecosystems are filled in and crowded with retail shops. Hotels and convenience stores usurp the skylines of once-charming local towns.
In Lesley McCaskill’s acrylic, “Delmarva Beauties on the Farm,” she preserves a glimpse of a lost farm and its residents. “Farms were abundant when I first moved to the area years ago,” she said. “I have enjoyed not only the visual expanses of farmland but even more the animals. They have personalities. I formed a friendship with a farmer who had a dairy farm. I spent hours drawing and painting on his property, and he would often share stories of the homestead. Twenty years later, most of the cows are gone, as is the owner.”
In "Soybean Fields, Ocean View," a pastel by Laura Hickman, the last agricultural field Ocean View is captured in vibrant orange and green. Michelle Marshall’s acrylic painting, “Summer Memories,” carries the viewer back to the charming Boardwalk of Rehoboth past, when summer meant rides and caramel popcorn and walks on the boards with friends under the shadow of the giant Dolle’s sign.
In Cheryl Wisbrock’s watercolor, “Summer Cottage Reflections,” the viewer sees colorful, classic beach cottages which provided wonderful memories for many summer vacationers over the years – but their future is uncertain.
Rina Thaler’s watercolor “Marsh Bird” records the peaceful moments of a shorebird on an uninhabited marsh. “Many people think of architectural landmarks that are disappearing, but as more development comes to the shore, wildlife and the natural environment of the marshes begin to vanish,” she said.
Another factor in changing landscapes is climate change with its long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. Dale Sheldon’s acrylic, “Rising Waters, Tangier Island,” captures a vista of a forgotten time. “Located on the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia’s Tangier Island is threatened by sea-level rise, and much of the island is disappearing. The watermen and all that makes it unique need to be captured before it is gone,” said Sheldon.
In both Mary Bode Byrd’s “Rising Tide,” and Joyce Condry’s “Melting Away,” the plight of vanishing glaciers in all their beauty is depicted. Byrd said, ”My painting is from the perspective of peering into our world as waters and land melt into each other. The abstract approach provides a strong image of the landmass as the waters swell around and over the earth.”
Seasonal landscapes vanish with time but reemerge. Cindy Beyer’s “Autumn Road” captures the ephemeral beauty in the array of fall colors, truly a vanishing landscape that will soon disappear, revealing the stark reality of winter.
Marybeth Paterson’s favorite but fleeting moments of summer are best summed up with an image of sailboats. In her oil painting, “Following the Wind,” she shares that moment when the sails are finally up and boaters set to find the best wind – then just enjoy the ride.