By Todd Wilkinson
George Carlson has been courting the spiritual mysteries of creation for half a century. He isn’t bothered that answers remain elusive. "I believe art should open our eyes and invite us to ponder broader questions, rather than tell us what to think," he says. What’s not inscrutable is his remarkable oeuvre that stands as a testament to tireless, fearless exploration. Ask Carlson to identify the sources of his original compositions and he will respond, without hesitation, that each one emanates from the same place.
“For me, it has always come down to having a grounding in terra firma. I need to hear the hum, and feel the rhythms of Mother Earth rising up through the soles of my boots. I want that energy to ooze out of my subjects,” he says during a recent trek through the woods behind his home in northern Idaho. “To keep the creative juices flowing, to pick up the vibrations, I have to be out in the thick of nature. There are no shortcuts through the brambles. Immersion is the only way I know how to keep the batteries charged.”
I've come to interview Carlson and ask him about his shift from sculpture to oil painting. We are on a narrow, winding path that he has blazed meticulously by hand, with saws, hatchets and machetes, over a span of decades. The hardscrabble route climbs up a mountain, dips down beneath a dark evergreen canopy on...
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Post Date:May 2nd, 2012
'A dynamic force in contemporary American art, George Carlson put his renowned career as a sculptor on hold only to plow headlong into landscape painting. On the heels of him winning the 2011 Prix de West—the second time he's claimed the top prize—he opens up with Wildlife Art Journal.com about making the transition. In the longest magazine profile ever penned about artist, readers are also treated to a 30-image retrospective of his career and the debut of our first roughcut video featuring Carlson at home in rural Idaho. Get a preview of his submissions to the 2012 Prix de West.