Yayoi Kusama said recently that it is impossible to be lyric within the confines of the city, and this appears to be so. Branch and birdsong are lyric, subways and high rises are not. The seeming tranquility of rolling hills and open skies, in concert with natural rhythms make for a feeling of measured tranquility. This part of the country is very beautiful and feels far from the pressures and tensions of city life which seem inhuman in pace. The comforts of nature compensate for a feeling of being slightly (but not too!) outside of central discourse.
Winter’s Lace, 46x46" oil/canvas 2018 Leslie Parke ©
The exhibit, titled Tranquility, sensitively installed by gallery owner Erik Laffer conveys nicely the overall feel of this exhibition whose works could only have been executed by long exposure to and affection for the consolations of country living. This contrasts with the aggressively angst ridden and cathartic zeitgeist of the present times, and also the less profound plasticky baubles some visually impaired corporate types have such affection for.
Mariner’s Constellation 25.5 x 34” photograph, archival inkjet on paper Leslie Parke © 2018
The new experimental paintings of Parkes, the delicate waxed kozo banners of Eisenberg, and the delicately carved vessels of Axford all use biomorphic form as primary subject and inspiration. The works in this show provide a feeling of the peace and ease of natural environments. Parkes photographs the Wrapped Cargo Series, which look more like paintings than photographs, are in a different category, though aesthetically they blend in with the other work shown here evoking the restraint of Eastern aesthetics.
Ladder to Heaven 20x16” photographs, archival ink jet print Leslie Parke © 2018
The artist’s panel talk, conducted by writer Tim Cane confirmed all three artists interest in and affection for Asian art, Axelford having actually travelled to Japan and Parke claiming Japanese painter Katsu Jagyoke (1735-1780) as a strong influence.. There were mentions of meditative practice, with Eisenberg talking some about Buddhism.
Endangered, Typha X Glauca Lythrum Salicaria & Red Winged Blackbird, Porcelain 13x5.5x5.5 JoAnn Axford ©2018
I have been watching Parke’s work for a while and observe a big transition happening with her paintings, which previously featured all over patterns of photo realistic objects ranging from cups to trees and blooms. She jokes that her paintings looked like photographs and her photographs like paintings, which for the photographs is still true. These are the most painterly appearing photos I have ever seen, with the exception of Adam Fuss. Parkes’s compositions are all over place oriented and Pollokian, as are her paintings, rather than the the object/figure orientations of Fuss. Like much of late work by master artists, Parke’s paintings are much looser and have a feeling of process as primary. Some are totally abstract, some only partially so. It will be interesting to see how all this develops. There is a pleasing variety to the paintings on view here.
Mirroring Shadowy Light 20”x20” oil on linen Leslie Parke © 2018
Light is central to these artists concerns, as with the snowy white of Parkes compositions, the white porcelain of Axford’s carvings and the delicate blurred luminescence of Eisenberg's banners. Eisenberg uses blurring out of focus imagery as an abstractive and unitive compositional device. She mentioned during the talk, her father's loss of sight, and how it comforts her to think that this may be what he is seeing now. And so love is part of the art process in infinite ways.
Crabapple Confetti 36x22.5, pigment ink on kobo & encaustic Jeri Eisenberg © 2018
Its a short pretty ride through the country to see this exhibit, rich and stark at the same time and well worth a visit.
Laffer Gallery 96 Broad St, Schuylerville, NY 12871
This exhibit runs until June 3rd.
Gallery hours are Wednesday – Sunday Noon to 5 pm or by Appointment.