From abstracting color and movement to realistically depicting the things that surround us, from expressing emotion through unique forms and shapes to making statements about the condition of the planet, art can symbolize many aspects of our world - and a great artist can achieve all of the above at the same time.
Chris Lundy is such an artist. He is adept capturing everything art can represent all at once. He is not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve when he creates, and he backs up his love for his subjects with his wallet.
Much of Lundy's newest work depicts trees from around the world.
His show, which opens today at Art on a Whim gallery in Breckenridge and runs through Jan. 6, is a benefit for the World Land Trust. Lundy and the gallery will donate a portion each painting sale to the World Land Trust, with each purchase generating enough money to protect one acre of rainforest permanently.
Lundy works in a technique called Modern Illuminism. One of a handful of people in the world working in the style, he carries on a long tradition of reflecting light through painting.
Modern Illuminism traces its roots to the works of Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald and later to masters like Rembrandt and William Turner. With the advent of new materials, the technique is on the cutting edge of the art world. Lundy combines his appreciation for Modern Illuminism with a mastery of depth-creating materials and a natural-born ability to create, putting him at the forefront of emerging American artists.
Lundy decided he wanted to be a professional artist at age 20. He realized that in order to achieve his dream, he needed to find a niche, a way to truly set his work apart. After much experimentation, he discovered ways to combine materials with epoxy resins to give his works a three-dimensional, glass-like effect. His paintings are often confused with blown glass, sand, geodes or other naturally occurring materials that are manipulated into form on canvas. They achieve their reflective quality from layering color on top of shining color, with anywhere from one to 15 layers used in any given piece.
With his new tree series, Lundy cultivates his love of sculpting to incorporate layers of highly textured materials that provide three-dimensionality to the foreground of his canvas. The results are trees that literally pop off the canvas, resting on top of glistening backgrounds that reflect light back to the viewer. Each piece changes dramatically as the viewer's angle changes or the light in the room fluctuates, giving the appearance of watching the tree's surroundings change throughout the day.
Landscape artists often strive to create work that stands as a reminder of the pristine nature that we frequently overlook, their paintings capturing the earth as it is, and hopefully always will be. Lundy and Art on a Whim hope to communicate the importance of the planet's beauty and trees by supporting World Land Trust.
Since its foundation in 1989, World Land Trust has worked to purchase and restore key habitats around the world to protect their biodiversity. Once the organization purchases land, it establishes a preserve and a partnership with the local community to oversee it. To date, it has preserved over 500,000 acres of tropical rainforest and other threatened habitats. It costs approximately $120 to purchase one acre of land.
Lundy, whose work is a permanent fixture at Art on a Whim, will be at the gallery Friday through Sunday this weekend and next to show his newest work and meet gallery visitors.