Mon Monet Easel landscape, 1979 Van Alstine with Steel easel near Laramie, Wyoming 1979
Easel Photographs (1977-81)
Created when Van Alstine was in the western US, the “Easel Landscape Series'” is a site-specific installation project designed to question and examine the accepted convention of frame as “signal” or “sanctioning” device for art. The series takes clues from many sources, including the "on site" plein air paintings of Claude Monet such as the "Haystack" or "Cathedral" series, and surrealist Rene Magritte in paintings like The Promenades of Euclid where he cleverly presents the viewer with the curious image of a painted canvas on an easel simultaneously in front of a window while acting as a window.
"Van Alstine's photos deal with multiple issues germane to the intersection of photography and landscape", Nicholas Capasso curator at the deCordova Museum wrote in Bones of the Earth; Spirit of the Land - the Sculpture of John Van Alstine, “Their multiple nested frames (easel, photograph, paper mat, and frame) play tricks with perspective cues and collapse or telescope perceived distances, calling into how the eye and mind perceptually process the landscape via photography.”
The photographs, created before the the days of "Photoshop" and easy digital photo manipulation, were shot with a medium format camera. Exhibited at New York 's Marlborough Gallery in 1981 in the exhibit "Color Photography: Five new Views", ARTFORUM Magazine wrote: "Color photography's relationship to the other arts is investigated in John Van Alstine's landscapes. His scenes of majestic Mountains and rolling plains are of the sort made famous not only by the "nature is beautiful" school of black and white photography but also by the plein air school of landscape painting. In Amish Easel Landscape, 1979 and Easel Landscape after Monet, 1980, the landscape contains a steel easel which frames a detail from the same scene. The juxtaposition of "the photograph within the photograph" and "the photograph" gives the image a biting conceptual edge that draws attention to the distinctive ways of seeing that photography and painting each offer". October issue 1981 with photo.
The work was also exhibited at the Henri Gallery, Washington DC in 1980 -1 and was reviewed by Paul Richard of the Washington Post.
Van Alstine with steel easel, near Laramie, Wyoming, 1979
exhibition prints 24" x30"
Teton Easel Landscape, Teton National Park, Wyoming
Abstract Easel Landscape (soybeans), Iowa
Dance Hall Easel Landscape , Bosler, Wyoming
Arches Easel Landscape, homage to Jackson Pollock , Arches National Park, Moab, UT
Amish Easel Landscape , Lancaster, PA
A abstract Easel Landscape, Iowa
Estes Park Easel Landscape, Estes National Park, Colorado
Wyoming Easel Landscape , near Gillette, Wyoming
Colorado Easel Landscape , near Marble, CO
Monet Easel Landscape , Iowa
Grand Junction Easel Landscape , Grand Junction, CO
Untitled Easel Landscape , Beartooth Pass, Montana - approaching north entrance to Yellowstone National Park
Pennsylvania Easel Landscape, near Lancaster, PA
Monet Easel Landscape , Eastern Wyoming
Montana Easel Landscape , near Bozeman, MT
Abstract Easel Landscape , Nebraska
Arches Easel Landscape - tree , Arches National Park, Moab, Utah
Wyoming Easel Landscape - fence , Shirley Basin, Wyoming
Amish Easel Landscape II , near Lancaster, PA
A"Balancing Stone" , Arches National Park, Moab, UT, 1980
"Delicate Arch". Arches National Park, Moab, UT
Community Presbyterian Church, Virginia Dale, CO 1979gin
Colorado Ranch, near Aspen, CO, 1979Dale
"Teton Easel Landscape with Artist", Teton National Park, WY
"Genral Store Easel landscape", near Steamboat Springs, CO, 1979
"Ghost Town Easel Landscape", Aschroft , CO, 1978
"Cowboy Easel landscape", near DeBois, WY 1979
"Easel Landscape with Figure", Aspen, CO, 1980
"Colorado Easel Landscape with Shadow", Northern Colorado, 1979
"Teton Easel Landscape with Artist II", Teton National Park, WY, 1979
photo size 24 x30"
Framing and matting designed to emphasize the frame within a frame within a frame
All proportions are the standard 8x10 ratio.