The lonely road
Drive immediately outside Sacramento and you’ll find rural areas that are just a little dull, visually. I’m not down on them, but they’re flat, dry and a touch boring. So it always surprises me when local landscape painters can transform otherwise uninteresting places into something pleasing. A remarkable example can be found in the work of Phillip Gross, who is exhibiting paintings this month at the Elliott Fouts Gallery, 4120 Douglas Boulevard, No. 305, in Granite Bay. Unlike painters who choose to eliminate man-made objects from the picture plane, Gross puts in the stuff you always see: Images of traffic signs, roads, hay bales, railroad tracks, irrigation ditches and other imprints of human existence are depicted without a trace of any actual people. The effect is similar to Charles Sheeler’s paintings from earlier in the century, but with more dramatic light and better color. What’s left is a lonely, quiet, introspective feel, not unlike walking through an empty field at sunset.