Continuing through October 19, 2012
New Mexico native B.C. Nowlin is best known for romantic portraits of the American Southwest — think burnt sienna skies and mossy green mesas — those landscapes that invariably serve as backdrops for Indian braves. I've heard the work of Nowlin called "mythical realism," but this series isn't that. Most are paintings of freight trucks captured in the midst of a horrific accident.
Nowlin's work is still vibrant, but here it's also violent. The big rig truck in "Texas" is airborne, diagonal to the horizon, and headed for disaster. But just beyond the wreckage Nowlin has meticulously, even lovingly, painted an achingly beautiful sunset. In "Circus", wrecked boxcars are scattered along a train track like children's blocks, columns of smoke rising into the sky. The work is bizarre; it's depicting a nightmarish catastrophe, but it's painted with great care and attention to detail. Nowlin has said, "if I understood my work, I'd stop painting." Whatever the motive is for this series, it's a real treat to see Nowlin do something so awesomely uncharacteristic and provocative.