I was delighted reading Ester Barkai’s review of the David McCosh/Entanglements exhibit at the Karin Clarke Gallery. McCosh had already retired when I began my studio art studies at the University of Oregon in 1970. I became aware of his art practice when the University of Oregon Museum of Art — now the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art — featured his paintings and watercolors at its temporary Satellite Museum 2 in downtown Eugene’s Salstron Building in 1974.
Unlike the Karin Clarke Gallery show, McCosh’s mini-1974 retrospective featured a broad range of works from his entire career. However, his showing at the Clarke Gallery abandons the realism of his early works in favor of compositions with Impressionist-like brush strokes, a biomorphic tangle, which often only suggests landscape through abstract images.
Viewers of this exhibition are denied the experience of McCosh’s synthesis of early realist landscapes. McCosh’s late works, at their best, have a strength that comes from within and reflect his existentialist passage and experience painting the Northwest landscape.
The Clarke Gallery retrospective of late works has been long in coming and is most welcome, but leaves me with the feeling that something is lacking with the exclusion of earlier paintings and watercolors.
Mike E. Walsh