‘A LIFE IN THE LANDSCAPE’ : 1 March - 1 April 2022
Carey Blyth Gallery, Oxford
‘What is work for? - If it is to get the job done,
then indeed get a chain saw.
If, however, it is to connect with Nature
- to know the tree and the rhythms it asks of our bodies -
then let’s use our hands, our arms, our feet, our lungs.’ Michael Buck 2022
‘You work that you may keep pace with the Earth,
and the Soul of the Earth.’
For to be idle, is to become a stranger to the Seasons.
When you work, you are a flute through whose heart,
the whispering of the hours turns to music.’ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, 1922
Michael Buck trained in Fine Art at The Ruskin School of Art, Oxford (1975-78). He is a painter of many years, but also an ecologist, and ‘green’ is at the heart of the matter for him as both artist and farmer. The two are inextricably linked with one discipline feeding the other. With mornings spent in the studio, and afternoons on the land, he is creater of cob houses from earth, clay and wood; hazel coppice and fencing; raising geese and cattle.
This collection of paintings provides an insight into his world: thunderous gun metal sky over sunlight grasses whilst scything hay on The Green; trees bare in winter against a muddy sky towards Wytham; the changing contours of the land and the quiet of horses on Port Meadow, their tails skirting around their legs in the wind.
Larger work delights in the aerobatics of a cloud of rooks, black above quilted Spring fields and hedgerows in a spectrum of greens, soft in the morning mist. Small works are painterly and fluent, vignettes of older times observed and captured ‘en plein air’.
Michael Buck’s art is in the living. It is both authentic and organic in spirit and essence, so that each day, he is at one with the elements and the rhythms of the earth. Buck makes a stand for a return to synchronicity, a life truly lived in the landscape, at one with the natural world.
Text : Jenny Blyth 2022