Catharine Clark Gallery opens its 2024 program with solo exhibitions by Chris Doyle and Chester Arnold that powerfully reflect on nature, memory, loss, and healing. Doyle’s exhibition, You Should Lie Down Now and Remember the Forest, is on view in the South Gallery and Media Room and features watercolors, animation, and installation. Arnold’s exhibition of paintings, Tributaries, is on view in the North Gallery, with additional drawings on view in Exit.

Chester Arnold infuses depths of feeling in crashing waves, cavernous ravines, and 400-year-old oak trees. His expressive oil paintings and drawings often depict psychologically and emotionally rich landscapes, and he writes that his work “reflects a mind’s natural and unrestrained adventures with friction and gravity at its core.”

Several paintings in his last solo exhibition, Complications (2020), depicted dramatic and tumultuous seascapes – capsized ships and rafts adrift, flotsam jettisoned in the swell – suggesting an upturned and unstable world. The paintings in Tributaries – on view in the North Gallery – depict water in seemingly calmer states, with rivers and bays stretching and meandering through green banks. However, his landscapes suggest precariousness beneath the surface.

Arnold created this body of work shortly after a loved one’s illness. After an extended break, Arnold returned to the studio. His newest landscapes reflect on passage and connection: tributaries flow into one another; starlings amass in murmuration; old-growth trees stretch their roots and branches, inviting an onlooker to touch. Arnold writes:

The works in Tributaries are driven by a metaphorical instinct that guides everything in my life. Painting may not be science, but the gifts of its agency, in both practice and appreciation, have been both balm and elixir in a challenging time. The paintings that appear here flowered in an atmosphere of restoration and recovery.