These three paintings come from a larger project that takes as its point of departure a group of cloud studies by the nineteenth-century British painter John Constable—a suite of paintings now in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art (the “YCBA” in the titles). In these works Constable turned his attention to the passing effects of wind, light, and atmosphere; after spending months studying them, Schutter created two sets of paintings, each scaled to match one of Constable’s originals, and then reworked according to Schutter’s own memories of them. The related drawing (After YCBA C d x 8) was created in tandem with the three paintings, and provides a delicate counterpoint.
These works evoke the gravity and attentiveness critical to Schutter’s practice---at the center of which is the artist’s dedicated investigations of the acts of both looking and painting. Through both reverence and a deep questioning of process, Schutter considers what implications these acts have for our relationships to history, and to the surfaces of the things in the world around us. The resulting paintings reveal a sensitive touch and a densely layered understanding. Rather than copies or commentaries, Schutter’s renditions propose re-performances of Constable’s initial interest in turning to the sky with brush and painting clouds.