Leslie Parke-Light on Battenkill
oil and glass beads on linen
69 inches x 48 inches
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I tried many things to create the quality of sparkle in the light being reflected off the river in Light on Battenkill, but it wasn't until driving home one night, when I noticed how my headlights reflected off the paint on the road that I knew what I needed to do. With the help of the local Highway Department, I was able to find what they add into the road paint to make it reflect light; the secret? Glass beads.

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 Artist’s 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 Grandfather’s 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.
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