Gregory Horndeski enjoys celebrating spring by creating a group of paintings that convey his excitement about the approaching season.
“Vernal Paintings” is Horndeski’s new show of spring-inspired work that opens at Horndeski Contemporary on April 12.
“My first spring paintings were painted in 1982, when I was living in Dallas,” he says. “In March of 1996, my wife and I moved to Santa Fe, just in time to catch the beginning of spring-like weather here. After a long winter in Santa Fe, it’s very difficult for me to resist painting spring-time motifs.
“Occasionally, I paint flooded arroyos washing away cars or children being bullied in a bucolic landscape.”
A physicist by training, Horndeski became interested in art when he visited Europe in 1969, after his junior year of college. While he was looking for things to do in Amsterdam, he went to an exhibit of paintings by van Gogh.
“I had never seen anything in my life like his work,” he explains in his biography. “I spent hours examining it. From that experience I realized what I should be doing with my life, and that was painting.”
Horndeski also enjoyed physics and eventually became a professor. In 1981, he decided it was time to leave academia and get serious about painting. He moved to Dallas, where he began teaching himself how to paint.
“I saw a PBS documentary on Jackson Pollock realized that I should be mixing my paints with water, pouring the paint onto a horizontal canvas and then spreading it about with my knives,” he says. “I had found my true artistic voice. I have been painting with that style, and refining it, ever since.”
Sometimes, Horndeski’s love for physics and math seeps into his work. His painting “How To Build a Pyramid,” which is in the show, is a perfect example of the merging of art and science.
“On the frame of this piece I explain how engineering students can use their knowledge of linear algebra to build something ‘practical’ like a pyramid,” he says.