“I paint what people do and throw away as part of the landscape,” explains Bernalillo, New Mexico painter Scott Greene, whose show “Environmental (Ex)change” opens at 5 p.m. on November 9 at Turner Carroll Gallery.
An artist who has been focusing on social and political issues in his work for more than three decades, Greene has had lots of material to work with during recent years. “Things have gotten so intense lately, and that hasn’t made creating work easier for me,” he adds.
“This work is emotionally driven by extreme shifts in everything we know about being American citizens, whatever that is now.
“Clown cars, runaway locomotives, quaint cruelty on the prairie are all part of the illusion of power, the farce we now perform in.”
Among the issues woven into Greene’s colorful and complex oil paintings are greed and the accumulation of garbage in our society, climate change, human rights and immigration.
Greene’s paintings build slowly over time. One idea inspires another that leads to the next one. “I keep adding elements,” says Greene, who finds it challenging to seamlessly integrate new ideas into a developing painting. “A lot of times, I’m surprised by the finished painting. The completion of a work is what the viewer brings to it.”
A graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute who earned a master’s degree in fine arts at the University of New Mexico, Greene has exhibited his work in museums throughout the U.S. including the Triton Museum of Art in California, the Arnot Art Museum in New York and the Austin Museum of Art in Texas. In 2017, Greene was a featured artist in the PBS show Colores!, which provides an in-depth look at the inspiration, challenges and processes of a wide range of artists in New Mexico.
The exhibit at Turner Carroll is held in conjunction with the show “Currency,” which also features several paintings by Greene and examines the relationship between art and money. “Currency” is on display at 516 Arts in Albuquerque.