Wind-swept winter marshes, charred hillsides spotted with gray boulders, and moody clouds reflected in coastal tidal pools are painted with fervent energy and expressive gesture in David Fullam’s recent landscape compositions. Thoughtful observations of place, the paintings incorporate process in an essential way. Transitioning from large-scale pastel and oil pastel drawings on paper to oils on canvas, Fullam has pushed, molded, and layered his paints while exploring the capabilities of the medium and experimenting with the process of painting.
These new paintings represent a continuation of the ideas in my last solo show, Land Marks, which was a series of large-scale, pastel-and-oil-pastel landscape drawings. After being away from painting for the seven years I spent on those drawings, I returned to painting to explore new ways of expression through the medium of oil.
I find my capacity for expression greatly expanded in the oil medium. The interpretive power of paint becomes more important now.
In painting, I have the increased ability to activate the surface of the picture and connect to its expressive content through the movement of paint and its layering, the complexity of color, the energy of the brush stroke. I am finding ways to use all of this to make these works come alive in ways that differ from the way I used media in the drawings.
The mood and charged quality of the landscapes I paint are directly connected to the way I paint. Texture, mass, atmosphere, light, are taken up in the paint handling and the surface.
I hope that these paintings will involve viewers both close up and at a distance, that they may explore the formal elements — paint, pattern, texture, brush movements — and how these connect to the subject matter and its mood.
The drawings in the Land Marks exhibit were about place, as rendered by marks. In these new paintings, the choice of subject is often dictated by how the process of painting might work. I intend to marry the subject with the medium, and, in the end, they are as much about painting as about the subject. Each one is an individual experiment in process as well as a thoughtful and studied observation of the place.
First exhibited as a realist painter in the mid 1980’s, Fullam has guided his imagery from urban to rural, inspired by the rugged landscapes of New England. David Fullam received his MFA from the Syracuse School of Fine Arts and his BFA from the Washington University School of Fine Arts, St. Louis. He has had solo shows at Manchester Institute of Arts and Sciences, Nashua Arts & Science Center, and the Schenectady Museum. He has been included in shows at DeCordova Museum, Currier Gallery of Art, and Fitchburg Art Museum.