CJ Hales continues to rise as a painter, feeling the boundaries of his atmosphere, infusing an ethereal approach to what it means to live in the West, and not participate in the ancient uses of the term. His sweep of the Bountiful Davis Art Center Plein Air Competition this 2016 is evidence of his control not only of the brush, but also of his subject matter. Cool tones permeate his "New Construction," a heady proposition of his arid surroundings, a mountainous and dry region of the United States, a challenge to the usual warm tones of fields against rolling hills of what locals refer to as "The Wasatch." Most historically-acclaimed painting of the region demand these Steinbeck-like mountains to dominate their work, but Hales selects the boom in population and its accompanying construction instead, and devises a second turn-of-hand: the home is unfinished, almost abandoned. The simplicity of the piece is deceptive. We are left wondering if we should appreciate a short break in the work or lament a long-term economic pitfall. Whatever the reason, the piece leaves a calming effect on the viewer, a satisfaction that is indiscernible. A question into humanity and its interaction with the landscape.
Hales' work can be seen at the prestigious Meyer Gallery in Park City.