- Current Work
- PressCambridge Artist receives Gottlieb Grant April 11, 2011, CAMBRIDGE, NEW YORK Artist Leslie Parke has recently been awarded a $25,000 Individual Support Grant from the Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation of New York, honoring her extensive career as a professional painter. This grant is awarded each year to twelve artists worldwide who have devoted their lives to developing their art and have maintained a mature intellectual, technical and creative artistic development for a minimum of 20 years. “Making art is a way for me to both experience and comment on exiting art,” says Parke. “My early work was all about appropriation, working with images from Matisse, Ingres and Giotto. Now art historical references are just the filter through which I see the world.” In her current series, Parke creates abstract compositions from real subject matter, drawn from life. Her subjects – water, trees, crystal, china, recycled bales of paper and cans – become vehicles for shape, color, space and light. She employs monumental scale, all-over composition, and gestures that assert the surface of the painting. Painted in oil on linen or canvas, some as large as 60? x 70?, her paintings,…
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As a child during my summers at the beach, I spent many hours contemplating the ocean; watching the color change from gray to azure blue, and the surface from turbulent to the flatness of a polished mirror. This time of observation felt purposeful, as though, if I sat long enough I could penetrate its meaning or more accurately, its being. How the ocean looked attached itself to a mood and an atmosphere. It felt as though it had meaning apropos of nothing. How something looked was important. It struck a deep chord in me. The most “important” looks were the ones that I was least able to describe. I think that is why now I spend so much time trying to paint the un-paintable: hoar frost, silvery light, light reflected off of surfaces.
Today I showed the painting of a blue tarp, the sort you might use to cover your roof if you had a leak, to a friend. I worked on this painting every day for five months. It felt like one long meditation. My friend was nonplussed. A frustrated look of “I don’t get it”, came over her face. She was looking for meaning, for content, or at least some sort of context. I was giving her none of these things. All I gave her was a blue tarp. She didn’t see that it was another ocean.