Leslie Parke

"With my still life paintings I have set out to bridge the worlds of traditional subject matter and modernist composition. The objects I have included in these still lifes were chosen for the way they reflected light, their shape and color, and lastly for their personal meaning to me" --Leslie Parke Education 1976 MA Bennington College, Bennington, VT 1974 BA Bennington College, Bennington, VT 1973 The Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, NY, NY 1970-71 Mills College, Oakland, CA 1971 University of California, Berkeley, CA 1967-1970 Woodstock Country School, South Woodstock, Vermont Selected Exhibitions 2001 Longstreth and Goldberg Gallery, Naples, Florida 2000 David Barnett Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 1995 Galerie in Filmhaus Saarbrucken, Landeshauptstadt Saarbrucken der Oberburgemeister (Civic Arts Center), invitation by the City of Saarbrucken. 1992 Galerie Etienne de Causans, Paris, France 1992 Casa Argentina en Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel, Contemporary Artists for Global Peace 1992 David Barnett Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1990 Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Recent Trends in Works of Art on Paper 1987 Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, New York, curator, John Yau 1982 The Holland Festival, Amsterdam and The Hague, Netherlands , Inside Track, a collaboration with composer Henry Brant 1976 Usdan Gallery, Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont Leslie Parke’s Giverny Series is the artist’s ongoing project of paying respectful homage to Claude Monet’s greatest accomplishments, while presenting contemporary views of these historically known natural scenes. Working from a combination of slides and photographs taken at Monet’s idyllic retreat (through a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation grant), Parke returns to Monet’s original locations via factual documentation and subjective memory. In another series of paintings, Parke celebrates the ritual combat of boxing. Parke's paintings are fluidly executed, allowing us to follow the progress of her slashing brush strokes. Their energy is cumulative, like a flurry of jabs, giving the paintings a fevered animation. While clearly committed to a level of verisimilitude, Parke permits a gestural abstraction to simplify the light and shadows, which play across the bodies of her heroic subjects. Parke shows this drama as a series of cinematic moments of arrested action. Throughout her career, Parke has appropriated imagery from the archives of art history. Her honesty and literalness about the sources she uses (including the works of Matisse and Ingres) complements a desire to make the act of image borrowing entirely transparent. The artist equates her painted interpretations of already existing paintings to the act of observing and representing still life objects; the only difference is that the original paintings are already one step removed from the observed experience.
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