Neil Welliver: Chrysalis reviewed in The Free Press
by Christopher Crosman
"The early paintings mark the transformative, if not to say slow, awakening of Welliver’s own work. The ravenous, raucous, uncontained early works ricochet between abstraction and realism. In the late landscapes, for which he is best known, the seem- ing slapdash urgency of these early paintings dis- sipates into something new, vital, and central to the artist’ s being. In W elliver’ s mature, monumental paintings of Maine’s northern forests and streams we see a new kind of painting where surface han- dling, painterly gesture, and subject — unruly nature — seamlessly merge and quietly coalesce. The fading memory of those manicured lawns of suburban academia — Manet-like picnics on the grass with fellow faculty accompanied by nude models, dogs, sheep, and general dissonance — eventually yield to the randomness of nature for its own sake on its own terms. Those early collisions of fantasy and reality — butterflies and friends, sheep and tubas — finally resolve into Welliver’s full, final embrace of plangent nature, as source and solace."