Painter as poet: The nature of Gerard Erley’s landscapes

BLOOMINGTON — For Gerard Erley, the mind’s inner eye often sees something more expressive than the optical nerve directly registering nature’s wonders.

Hence, the evocative windblown trees, scarlet clouds and pearl-cast night skies that Erley intuits rather than documents.  

“Although my paintings present the landscape, I do not paint nature in an attempt to duplicate what the eye sees,” his official manifesto reads.

“Rather, I explore landscape imagery for its expressive potential, its unique emotional language,” it continues. “I seek to discover the poetry in a solitary tree or a passing cloud, and to communicate that poetry in paint.”

Today, Erley is a long way from that manifesto’s creation, but he hasn’t felt the need to edit or revise. 

“I wrote that statement 20 years ago,” he recalls from his home in South Carolina, where he moved four years ago after spending the biggest chunk of his creative life on the Twin Cities art scene.


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