Elizabeth Awalt: Fruiting Bodies
David Palmer: Paintings
Clark Gallery is honored to present concurrent solo exhibitions of Elizabeth Awalt and David Palmer. These two seemingly disparate bodies of work – bold, single-stroke paintings by Palmer and mystically layered abstract images by Awalt, reflect the confident gaze of two mature artists. Both confront their subjects head on as if using a magnifying glass to unleash the energy behind the brushstroke and nature. They exhibit strong, gestural marks that belie careful reflection, study and practice. The exhibition will remain on view through February 29, 2012.
Rooted in the expressive possibilities of nature, Elizabeth Awalt’s paintings awaken our senses to the regenerative and restorative powers of the natural world. Imbued with a visionary and abstract quality, they evoke rather than describe a specific place. Her most recent series of paintings have been inspired by the mystery and beauty of spores and fungi. Awalt excavates below the sculptural and twisted forms of these organic forms to unearth a delicate underground world, all the while infusing her imagery with a new, spiritually symbolic significance. As such they are vehicles representing strong and powerful life forces that Liz utilizes to turn an inward eye on nature. Her paintings often strike a delicate balance between the ethereal and the tactile as she carefully works to layer and embed these beautiful and sometimes menacing images.
David Palmer’s huge single stroke paintings, all of which have female names as titles, have the power to seduce. Their pristine surfaces invite the viewer to trace the circuitous path of a 27 inch brush loaded with paint. Palmer’s electric blue loops can be deceptive however. Despite being executed in a matter of seconds, each piece is carefully choreographed and the result of meticulous preparation both technically and mentally. One reviewer aptly described his work in terms of dance recognizing the body-centric nature of his work. The artist’s line as a “… rhythmic stand-in for the body becomes one of the clearest ideas at the center of his work. And while these canvases are all recognizably embedded with the markings of Palmer’s craft and vocabulary, each of their individual dance steps creates a specific personality separate from their sisters.”
Unlike other brushstroke paintings where the emphasis seems to be on either the beginning or the end of each stroke, Palmer loses himself in that broad expanse of the middle. According to Palmer, “ … the middle, the stroke itself, has been relatively unexplored. For me, the paintings are about form, energy, motion and what the middle of the brush stroke can do.” Standing in front of one of his paintings, it is difficult to decipher where the brushstroke begins and ends. Instead you are caught in a molten vortex, an unending cycle and continuum of time and space. At times the gesture appears to jump from the surface transforming the two-dimensional plane into a seemingly three-dimensional perception.
Elizabeth Awalt received her MFA from University of Pennsylvania and BA from Boston College. In 1984 she began teaching at Boston College, was awarded tenure, and taught until 2000. Awalt has received fellowships at the Fine Arts Work Center, Yaddo, MacDowell and Millay colonies. She has received a Massachusetts Artist Fellowship and grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. Her work is included in many collections including the Decordova Museum, Rose Art Museum, and Danforth Museum.
David Palmer, an SMFA alum, received his BFA from Tufts University, School of Museum of Fine Arts. He received the prestigious Traveling Scholars award from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His work in included in many private and public collections including.