THE LOW COUNTRY:
PAINTINGS BY PRESTON RUSSELL
What a visual feast to live in Savannah. American by birth--southern by the grace of God: old ways, old traditions. Tradition, someone said long ago, is the living faith of dead people. One can feel it here in the low country, even on a visit. After a few years, you know it. Old things, things that dont tend to dwell elsewhere in America. Old buildings, many drooping over in splendid decay, like elderly folks who become more beautiful with the patina of survival. Romantic people in their own peculiar realm, both a part of the other, inseparable, eccentric. John Berendt captured this essence perfectly in his international best seller on Savannah, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil:
Over thirty years, this vision progressively became compelling to record and preserve. Recalling Gertrude Steins famous observation, there is definitely a there here in Savannahmagic--and in Charleston, in Beaufort, in Bluffton, the Golden Isles, and other places I have yet to discover. And when I do discover them, often by chance, I feel excitement and humility, indeed awe, confronting a chance revelation of the there which is here. If successful in capturing that fleeting there-ness, I am privileged to share in a degree of timelessness, a moment of grace that the subject alone gives--before it darts off--never to be quite the same forever. Andrew Wyeth, an artist I greatly admire, expressed this visual quest better than I can:
I paint almost daily in my Savannah studio, a converted carriage house behind our 1860s home and garden in the heart of the historic district (where I try to stay out of my wifes hair). By appointment (912-234-0210), my studio and gallery are open to visit and discuss art. Around half of my paintings are available on this web site. I look forward to meeting you in person someday. Please drop by.