To Oblivion and Beyond: Damian Loeb Paints Divine Landscapes

Damian Loeb, Final Destination, 2007. Photography by Silvia Ros. All images courtesy of the artist and Acquavella Galleries. 

Skydiving head first into a world of spiritual and celestial transcendence, self-taught American artist Damian Loeb turns landscape painting into an exploration of the galaxy. On Earth, his creations take on a pervasive stillness, imagining a post-human planet. 

“There is an amazing world around us that exists in harmony and that does not depend on or need us; its beauty remains with or without us,” says the painter. “Great landscapes are freed of an imposed human scale. They are able to give the experience of a place, a moment, an expanse that is free of people and concept, yet full of desire and awe. This is my continuing challenge.”

Portrait of Damian Loeb by Adam Guy.

The last 15 years of Loeb’s foray into the landscape genre are currently on display in “A Landscape Retrospective,” the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with Acquavella Galleries and his inaugural presentation in Palm Beach. Nineteen landscape paintings are included, alongside the debut of pieces from Loeb’s “Wishful Thinking” series. 

The works reference Catholic iconography and Baroque ideals, and pull directly from the image libraries of government space agencies. Loeb enhances the digital photography before translating it into oil paint, maintaining many of the trademark distortions of a camera: like lens flares, shallow depths of field, and wide aspect ratios. 

Damian Loeb, Immaculate Conception, 2023. 

Immaculate Conception, 2023, which will also be featured in Acquavella's presentation at Art Basel Miami Beach, pays homage to the Virgin Mary, intertwining Jupiter’s swirling blue rings with a subtle yet zealous depiction of her divine feminine form. Out in the Milky Way, Loeb has traveled a long distance from the inspirations he cites: William H. Turner, Caspar David Friedrich, Albert Bierstadt, and Edward Hopper. “I feel driven to share the overwhelming fascination, fear, and satisfaction of the great landscapes these artists have offered,” notes Loeb.

Damian Loeb, "A Landscape Retrospective" (Installation View), 2023. Photography by Silvia Ros.  

His new works were also informed by pandemic-induced seclusion, embodying a worldwide desire for escapism. The paintings deconstruct and reconstruct our surroundings, with an eye toward reminding viewers of their place within the cosmos. As he explains, “I am fascinated by how landscapes separate us from our ego, remind us of the scale of our world, and put our existence into a larger perspective.”

A Landscape Retrospective” is on view through December 5, 2023 at Acquavella Galleries in Palm Beach.