Barns of Shenandoah

The body of work for Ghosts of a Forgotten Landscape: Paintings by Sally Veach, showing at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester, VA. July 13, 2019 - June 20, 2020.


This series is based on three tenants:

  • Humans are a part of and apart from nature

  • Nature is omnipotent, not us

  • Migration is the natural flow of organisms, including humans (a new focus)

This weathered evidence  of humans' past struggles signify the care and keeping of small family groups. It is a reminder of the perseverance of spirit and our toiling for subsistence and enterprise. What struggles transpired here?

This weathered evidence of humans' past struggles signify the care and keeping of small family groups. It is a reminder of the perseverance of spirit and our toiling for subsistence and enterprise. What struggles transpired here?

I paint to share how our landscape affects me but also to express my thoughts and beliefs about the world. Below is an attempt to verbalize the concepts that inspire the Barns of Shenandoah paintings.

Through my painting practice, which is inspired by the landscape Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, I have begun to think more about the people of the Valley and how they interact with this gorgeous, natural environment. It is interesting that humans are both a part of nature and also distinctly apart from it.

There is a point where humans and nature overlap. This coming-together is symbolized to me in our historic, decaying barns.

I also believe that nature is the universe, thus all-powerful. Through the erroneous assumption that we are omnipotent (perhaps through belief in ordination by God), our society thinks we are destroying nature, but in reality nature will destroy us.

Lastly, there is a correlation between the first, Germanic immigrants to the Shenandoah Valley (which were some of the earliest immigrants to North America) and the migration of today. The unique bank barn of the Shenandoah Valley is the legacy of my Eighteenth Century German ancestors. Perhaps through remembering the reasons our ancestors had for leaving Europe, the hardships they faced on their journey across the Atlantic, and their struggles in the face of nature once here, more attitudes will soften towards the immigrants of today.

The  scenic location  of a Pre-Civil War barn near Strasburg, VA in Shenandoah County, Virginia

The scenic location of a Pre-Civil War barn near Strasburg, VA in Shenandoah County, Virginia

A deteriorating bank barn in Shenandoah County, VA.

A deteriorating bank barn in Shenandoah County, VA.

Our majestic barns have outlived their usefulness. and are on a path of slow demise.

Our majestic barns have outlived their usefulness. and are on a path of slow demise.

Returning to Nature.

Returning to Nature.

A wealth of history  is hidden in the barns of Shenandoah County. Here, the equipment of yesterday and today in storage.

A wealth of history is hidden in the barns of Shenandoah County. Here, the equipment of yesterday and today in storage.

 

Shenandoah County Historic Barns Program

Thank you to Hekyung Parkbarr for the video featured in this presentation!

Together with the Shenandoah County Historical Society, I am endeavoring to help preserve Shenandoah County, Virginia’s historic barns. I donate a portion of every barn painting sale to the SCHS. Please contact the Shenandoah County Historical Society or John Adamson at 540-975-2240, if you would like to make a donation or get involved in this exciting project.

Please read this invitation letter from John Adamson.


Harvest Ghost , Oil on Canvas, 36” X 36”,  Collection of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

Harvest Ghost, Oil on Canvas, 36” X 36”, Collection of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

Gale Force , Mixed Media on Canvas, 36” X 36”

Gale Force, Mixed Media on Canvas, 36” X 36”

Winter Weathering , Mixed Media on Canvas, 36” X 36”

Winter Weathering, Mixed Media on Canvas, 36” X 36”

Resurrection 4 , Oil on Canvas, 36” X 36”

Resurrection 4, Oil on Canvas, 36” X 36”

And She Rises, Oil on Canvas, 30” x 40”