Sitting in Trine Bumiller’s light-filled, Park Hill studio, we talked of memory and landscape, the meaning of trees, the color blue, our lives as working artists. Our conversation ran the gamut but always circled back to her luminescent, awe-inspiring work.
Encountering Bumiller’s work is like finding a snapshot of a moment in time. Her abstract landscapes distill nature to its essentials, but imbue it with light and color. “I like going through the different permutations, culling the salient parts of the landscape,” she says. Vibrant glazes of oil paint illuminate the figures of trees, the glint of water, the structure of lichen and moss. Neutral tones cast off against bright reds, blues and yellows; her color decisions reflect the depth and complexity of the natural world.
Bumiller works in multiple panels in each piece, echoing the sense of snapshots and moments in time. Each section is a depiction of a part of nature; combined together, they work in conversation with one another, like the altar pieces in Medieval and Renaissance art that she observed while studying in Rome. Bumiller structures her work in this manner “as a way of organizing nature’s color changes and shifts without fussiness,” as well as a method to compositionally juxtapose the hard edge and organic.
Though she works in the static media of paint, time is a major factor in her work. Her series “100 Paintings for 100 Years,” which commemorated Rocky Mountain National Park’s 100th anniversary in 100 individual paintings, suggests the movement of space and time through the history of the park, as well as the physical movement of hiking, taking in the landscape along the trail and through time. The entire series reads like a story of moments– eyes to the ground, up to the sky, along the treeline, from past to present day.
It is not hard to infer from her work that Bumiller spends a great deal of her time in nature, immersed in the space of it- in fact, we talked of the idea that the landscape “is part of our DNA,” a prime building block of her artistic practice. She takes from these experiences her memories, and builds them into her work, capturing them in their brilliance. Working from watercolor studies, she creates an “experimental roadmap” for each piece that informs her compositional and color decisions.
Her latest series returns to the theme of trees, which she has cycled back to many times over the course of her career. The forms have many meanings. “Trees are silent witnesses to what’s going on in human history,” she notes. Earlier works in the series were reflections on her late mother’s struggle with dementia. In her current work, she sees a bittersweet contrast between bare branches and a Technicolor forest, perhaps an echo of human encroachment on the environment.
“Art is hope. Nature is a solace and a language,” Bumiller states emphatically. In today’s political climate, with the environment threatened throughout the world, her words hold power. She creates from a core belief in the power of both art and nature, conjuring the experiential strength of each in her evocative works.
Trine Bumiller’s work is collected throughout the world, and is represented by Robischon Gallery in Denver, CO, Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in New York, and Zg Gallery in Chicago. Learn more at trinebumiller.com.
Upcoming opportunities to see her work include a solo exhibition at Telluride Arts Gallery 81435, from March 1 through April 30, 2018, as well as the group show Pink Progression, taking place at the Boulder Public Library and Denver Public Library’s Main Branch opening this month, and the Center for Visual Art in Denver this summer.
Julia Rymer is an abstract painter and writer based in Colorado, where she creates work inspired by nature, science, and color theory. Learn more at juliarymer.com.