Anne Appleby (born 1954) is an American color field/landscape painter. Her works, always bearing titles from the natural world—“Sweet Pine”, “Summer Aspen”, “Gem”—are simple arrangements of colored canvas panels. Each panel is, at a glance, monochromatic, but closer inspection reveals deep and luminous gradations of hue.
She received her B.F.A. in 1977 from the San Francisco Art Institute. Before attending the Art Institute, Appleby spent a fifteen year apprenticeship with an Ojibwe Indian elder in Montana. From him, she learned her patient observation of nature.
Her work is often shown with that of “reductive” painters, but it does not exactly fit into the “pure” painting philosophy held by many of them. As Kenneth Baker wrote in 2004, “using no forms except monochrome panels, Appleby must struggle often with the potential problem of repetition. But [she] achieves a freshness and distinctness that persuade a viewer that she means each one. It is as if she has learned to translate energy of intent directly into radiance of color.”
Although Appleby’s paintings are composed of abstract panels each essentially a single color, she thinks of them as landscapes. She carefully observes particular plants or particular seasons and uses their colors as they grow and change in works that are particular to them. “As I work, I develop an inner dialogue about the meaning of what I’m doing,” she says. “But I can’t paint that. I can’t even speak it. It’s denser than my activity.”
Anne Appleby currently splits her time between San Francisco and her home on the edge of a national forest in Jefferson City, Montana. She has participated in group exhibitions in institutions such as the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington, the American Academy in Rome, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where in 1996 she was awarded the SFMoMA SECA Art Award. She was also the 1999 recipient of the Biennial Award from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation in New York. Appleby shows her paintings primarily at San Francisco’s Gallery Paule Anglim. Her works are held in various museum collections, including the Cleveland Museum of Art and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.