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When I visited Japan, I was expecting to be enthralled by Zen gardens and temples. Instead, it was the recycling plant that knocked my socks off. Recycled Paper-Sasebo, Japan
is a painting of the bales of recycled paper.
Leslie Parke, who lives in Shushan, New York, is a recipient of the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest grant to be an artist-in-residence at the Claude Monet Foundation in Giverny, France, and the George Sugarman Foundation Grant, among others. Her exhibits include the Williams College Museum of Art, the Museum of the Southwest, Midland, Texas, the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Leslie has a BA and MA from Bennington College. Her work is in numerous corporate and private collections. Her paintings are currently on exhibit in Toronto, Canada, Houston and Dallas, Texas, and Orlando, Florida.
Leslie Parke Artists Statement
In my series Landfill I create abstract compositions from real subject matter. My subjects water, trees, crystal, china, recycled bales of paper and cans become vehicles for shape, color, space and light. I employ 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, my paintings, when viewed up-close, appear to be merely flecks of paint. From a distance, however, they appear photo-realistic.
My subjects are drawn from my life. China Heap is abstracted from a pile of my Grandfathers china, Almond Tree-Biot from a parking lot in a town in southern France near where I was recently an artist-in-residence, and Recycled Paper, Sasebo, from a recycling plant that I saw while visiting the southern island of Japan. The trees and recycled cans in other of my paintings are objects I encounter during the drive from home to my studio.
Trees, china or recycled paper interest me not for their subject matter, but because they have great lines in them or a particular quality of light, or most importantly because there is a tension between what is represented and a pull toward complete abstraction.