As an abstract painter Don Estes interprets horizon lines and landscapes into mixed media works on panel. The show's title, "Bluff Poem" references the inspiration Estes finds on the Memphis bluff ridge along the Mississippi River.
While earlier works emphasized the layering bands of actual landforms "Bluff Poem" references atmosphere as well as structure. Subtle suggestions of clouds, fog, rain and sunlight are visible throughout Estes's mark making and use of color.
"I am much more interested in the subjective essence, the circumstance of a moment, than the literal interpretation of a place..."
The work in "Bluff Poem" begins with layers of gesture. Estes scrapes and stains often muted pigments onto medium to large wooden panels. His signature horizontal structure reveals overlapping sections that create a subtle complexity.
Accidental marks are embraced and reworked to suggest "a birds flight, an argument, a remembrance, a moment of recognition." For Estes, "the desired outcome is a visual experience that alludes to both the natural world and a poetic sensibility."