Philadelphia-based artist Louis Ardine has worked primarily in abstract forms, producing elaborate drawings with Micron pens. But in 2021, after he and his brother completed a cross-country charity walk, from the New Jersey coast to San Francisco, he began to gravitate toward landscape pieces, rendered on canvas in oils and watercolor. “I’m trying to think of narrative more in my work, and I think landscape is a way to entertain the subject of narrative,” he says.
Ardine works spontaneously, perhaps beginning with a doodle that eventually develops into a more intricate piece resembling a scene from his travels. “I’ll do a painting, and in a way it’s a landscape, but it’s also not a landscape. I’ll have a little chuckle to myself like, ‘Oh this makes me think of this day when the sky was a certain way,’” he says. The vast wonder and joy Ardine beholds in certain American landscapes are evoked, for example, in Red Sky, one of the first oil paintings he has attempted in years. “Visual art has this wonderful ability to stop us in our tracks,” he says. “I, as an artist, seek to exploit that in the viewer, to make them stop.”
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