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Carle Hessay: Wilderness Swamp
"To walk into this picture with its pronounced three-dimensional character is to be halted in one's steps. The sun, not yet fully risen, has cast a rosy flush on the western face of the mountain and sky above, but has not yet penetrated into the depths of the forest, still shadowed in the density of its undergrowth. It is probably late October or early November. During the night a light snow seems to have fallen, powdering the swamp and blanketing the todd of a small building to the right.
There is the impression that nature has "shut down" for the season, that the annual function of ferns and bracken, or fireweed and hardback, and of all this vegetal exuberance has reached its completion and hold the future in promise only. In the spring the new year will call forth the rampant energies of the swamp again.
The opening in the forest cuts clear through to the mountain like a surveyor's line. On the right above the repossessing underbrush, the roof suggests an old homestead. Across the foreground are the fallen remains of what might have been a fence, possibly keeping cattle out of the boggy land which fills the central area of the picture. One senses the presence of the masterful but vanished hand of man in his struggle to tame and convert this strong, inhospitable land to his purpose." From Leonard A. Woods, Meditations on the Paintings of Carle Hessay (Trabarni, 2005).
(Dimensions 23 x 17 1/2 inches; 58.4 x 44.45 cm.; oil on board, textured gesso background.)