As an artist who has painted the natural world for over 20 years,
Adam Straus has a complicated connection to his environment. In the
1990s, he painted Oil Slicks, a series of paintings that
referenced the oil spills that happened at the time, and the relevancy
of these paintings has been asserted again and again over the years.
a period of time, the artist also painted seascapes that contained a
sense of foreboding, often jarring to viewers who expect serene images
of waves crashing along the shore. The works lent themselves to that
19th-century understanding of the sublime. In many of his paintings
Straus demonstrates that nature, although welcoming, still has power to
match that of any manmade structure. “Nature is a powerful force and
can destroy what we build in a matter of minutes,” the artist says.
“Haiti and New Orleans are examples of that.” Lately, the artist has
reduced the environment depicted in his paintings to its most
elemental. Seascapes compositionally winnowed down to water, air, and
the horizon line that joins the two.