PAINTING TOWARD WHOLENESS
Elements of Modernist design fuse with motifs of tribal art in Jeff Long’s paintings. If the history of art, in a broad sense, has much to do with codifying our experience of the natural world, Long finds visual parallels among many cultures and in various time frames.
Worldwide, many societies expressed their place in nature by creating a sort of visual parallel order. This was accomplished by distilling and abstracting landscape and natural elements. Whether expressed in mosaics, weaving, or pottery, there were often uncanny similarities of approach on different continents.
Through artists like Matisse and his many artistic descendents, the visual vocabulary of pattern-making, flattened color and hard edges crossed over into mainstream Western art in the 20th Century from societies in which the tradition of abstracting nature was a long one.
In a painting project, which is now in its fifth decade, Long has created a body of work characterized by the distillation of landscape, votive traditions from various cultures, tribal design elements, and Modernist motifs.
Long’s art expresses humanity’s impulse to connect the optical sense with a feeling for the wholeness of the world.