Gabriel Liston returns to Froelick Gallery with his latest body of work, Above and Below the Flood. An artistic meditation on how the land and various populations near the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers at Portland's North edge have been shaped by millennia of flooding- both expected seasonal water rise and massive tidal waves of glacial melt.
Liston's paintings do not depict disaster or devastation; rather he paints the land as it is now in the form of vistas seen from high ground, rocky, wooded urban pockets, neighborhood fields bathed in the pallet of moonlight or dawnlight. Vast, cloudswept skies dominate many compositions, giving the viewer a sense of smallness in the face of geologic time and events. Titles, some incised on the surface of his pieces, hint at the artist's anxiety about the prospect of future floods, those brought on by climate change, rising sea levels- "There was not flood today"; "I will hold back the flood"- while others suggest that he also loses himself in the inherent beauty of his surroundings and in the act of painting them- "Transcription from a conversation between water and earth"; "I forgot to worry".
Liston's scenes masterfully balance the tense relationship between what has occurred and may again occur with the outward serenity of the present place.