Butterville Road Intersection
Marcia Clark has been painting landscapes since the 1960s, when she was inspired by the paintings of Hudson River School founder Thomas Cole, whose work inspired her to look deeper. Clark credits the development of her unique, multi-dimensional style, arranging panels to defy traditional one-point perspective, to her daily experience of the Butterville Road intersection in New Paltz, New York, where she lived from 1969 to 1976. She states that “living with this view was pivotal in turning my attention as a painter to the challenges of getting a panoramic sweep onto a two-dimensional format.” The work is part of a series, including two paintings of intersections in Reykjavik, Iceland, begun during an artist residency there in 2011.
Clark painted the panoramic views of the Butterville Road intersection on location, depicting the road at center to ground the viewer. These five points of view are set against a map, offering yet another way to envision the area. By raising the panels at an angle, the artist establishes an extended view that allows for a “sense of seeing more than can be seen from one viewpoint.” This technique allows for the viewer to imagine themselves there, observing the landscape in 360 degrees just as Clark did while she worked.
The many ways in which artists perceive and record their environments has been a subject of research and artistic exploration for Clark for more than thirty years. In 1987, she guest curated The World is Round: Contemporary Panoramas, a traveling exhibition organized by the Hudson River Museum. Clark’s work is also in the collections of the Museum of the City of New York, the Albany Institute of History and Art, and the Ilulissat Kunstmuseum in Greenland.