A glass of wine holds a memory. To be more precise, the glass holds two memories; a recollection of a time and of a place both recent and ancient. The first recollection is of a vintage; a recent memory of a particular growing year where environmental factors shape the wine in your glass. The memory of a vintage is a memory of what occurs above the earth over the course of a single year. A glass of wine also holds an ancient memory. A recollection of what happened long before a vine was planted; a memory held deep below the vineyard in the layers and layers of sedimentary and volcanic soils that trace back millions of years.
In painter and winemaker James Frey’s series Recollections, he explores these twin memories of the land where grapes are grown. Above the horizon, the active elements of sun, heat, wind and rain that drive so much of what an individual vintage will become are represented in a series of dynamic colors, textures and shapes. The horizontal band transecting the painting represents the vineyard itself and its role in uniting the history beneath with the elements above. Below the vineyard, subtle lines cross the compositions suggesting the striation of the soil; while delicate vertical lines move downward through the layers of energy and force of the earth.