Found Art: Mountains Melancholy

Cristi Rinklins landscapes find beauty in destructionBy Alice Ferré

MTR II, oil and airbrushed acrylic on aluminum, $6,500, Steven Zevitas Gallery.

Abstraction and realism often coexist in the landscapes of Cristi Rinklin, whose latest series explores the ways humans shape the natural environment. In her painting MTR II, the Boston-based artist calls attention to mountaintop removal (MTR), a coal-mining process commonly used in Appalachia. “I’ve long been interested in landscapes that are devastated by industrial practices,” Rinklin says. “I came across images of MTR over a year ago and was haunted by these decimated spaces.” To create her works, the painter uses airbrushed acrylics for the background, and oil paints for the more “gestural” parts of the landscape. She applies them to aluminum panels in stages over the course of several months—building ambiance in the process. “I want these images to evoke a feeling of melancholy, as if these landscapes are some kind of detached memory that hovers in the subconscious,” Rinklin says.