This past exhibition was on view from February 16, 2019–January 13, 2020.
HORIZON is an exhibition comprised of some 30 landscapes from the Washington State Historical Society’s collection. These paintings, hung together in a way that aligns their dominant horizon lines, results in the cumulative effect of a continual landscape around the perimeter of the gallery. While the exhibition features paintings of differing sizes, media, and techniques, the works themselves portray the suggested influence of the physical grandeur and the capturing of the native landscape of the Pacific Northwest, alongside the larger conceptual idea of horizon and the opportunity that looking westward afforded many of the artists whose work is represented here. Works from the WSHS collection included in HORIZON demonstrate how various painters have grappled with the vast scale and subtle nuances of the Pacific Northwest landscape.
The dates of the artworks exhibited span almost century, ranging from 1870 to 1966, and vary considerably in style and environmental treatment. Some artists sought to capture the immensity or emptiness of a view, while others focus instead on the impact of settlement and “progress,” as it was thought of at the time. This unlikely stable of artists, with only the ultimate resting place of their works in common, illustrates an influx of creative wanderers to the American West, each of whom heralded from some other place and brought with them a unique point of view—an individual lens through which to see the environs of Washington State.