Elliot, Morning Blue, 1.18
Josh Elliot (b. 1973). Morning Blue, n.d. Oil on linen, 36 x 48 inches. Museum purchase from William E. Weiss Memorial Fund. 1.18
Elliott’s best work stands apart in its quiet elegance, technical merit, and the artist’s unique talent for depicting western light and atmosphere. Elliott is known for his pared-down western landscapes, which some might liken to Rockwell Kent’s minimal, almost abstracted, vistas. He often includes signs of modernity in his western scenes, but never do telephone poles or stacked bales of hay distract from overall harmony; he celebrates the Modern West as a changed, but still beautiful place, where nature and humanity coexist. Elliott’s compositions exude a sense of balance: cobalt shadows on sun-struck mesas complement golden fields of shorn wheat below; the low horizontality of a farm buildings repeats the landscape’s ever-receding planes.
Morning Blue is a signature work by Elliott created during a particularly strong period for the artist. Lately, Elliott’s palettes have become bolder and his focus has shifted toward vibrant sunsets. In my opinion, paintings like Morning Blue – an earlier work – are stronger. Finally, Morning Blue is a work of substantial scale and thus will command space on the museum’s walls.