san-francisco

Chester Arnold

Susan Cummins Gallery

Whether seen from a bird’s-eye view or scrutinized at close range, the world described by Chester Arnold’s landscapes is a beautiful but ominous place. On remote-looking granite peaks or in bleak strip mines, next to a busy anthill or in the burnt remains of a forest, fascinating disasters both natural and entirely man-made regularly threaten to unfold.

The dark narratives hinted at in these expansive canvases (most measure six feet along at least one dimension) have been pieced together from a number of sources, not the least of which is Arnold’s particularly poetic imagination. As in Arnold’s work of the past, Pieter Brueghel’s satirical revelation of human folly is part of the mix, a source attested to by both the composition and the title of a work like Landscape with the Fall of Icarus Among Others, 1996. Compared with Brueghel’s version of the Greek myth—a peasant peaceably plows his

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