September 9 - October 21, 2021
With Susan Eley Fine Art
46 W 90th St, New York, NY 10024
Tuesday - Friday, 11am-5pm and by appointment
Opening reception: Friday, September 17th, 6-8pm at Susan Eley Fine Art
(New York: Upper West Side) Garvey|Simon, in conjunction with Susan Eley Fine Art, is pleased to announce Inhabit, a two-person exhibition featuring abstract encaustic paintings by Amber George and interiors in oil by Melanie Parke. Central to both George’s and Parke’s paintings lies the idea of the interior: the space one physically occupies and the private, psychological space. Both artists paint as a means of recollecting and visually recording memory and recent experience. Inhabit will be on view from September 9 through October 21, 2021 at Susan Eley Fine Art, 46 W 90th Street, floor two, NYC. An opening reception will take place on Friday, September 17th from 6-8pm at Susan Eley Fine Art.
Melanie Parke’s recent and ongoing series of oil paintings of interior spaces celebrates the kitchen as the hearth of the home. The kitchen, which connotes warmth, food, nurturing, domesticity, companionship, rest and renewal, is the place where we begin and end each day, where we find comfort, take a minute of solitude and respite. Each of the 16 interiors, carefully selected for Inhabit, depicts a specific place, painted from imagination or source material that includes reconstructed memories or visions, both of places real and imagined. Parke takes pleasure in creating spaces in which people can metaphorically slow down. Her paintings are about finding slowness in a fast-paced world and asking, ‘what kinds of things reveal themselves during slowness?’
Each physical space is distinct with its own furnishings and decorative objects—the edge of a dining table, set with tea service and a plate of fruit; a sink top draped with a patterned dish towel; a window ledge, laden with a vase of flowers. Yet, while the paintings may read as still lives, they are anything but still; each painting offers a fleeting moment, as if someone were passing through, their presence as ephemeral as the warm breezes one feels blowing through the windows. One almost senses that if Parke had painted the same interior in a subsequent hour, the result would be entirely different, as the light outside would have shifted, spinning the colors and shadows in another direction. In this way, Parke paints the invisible, as each scene reflects the interiority of a person living in a specific moment.
Parke’s paintings are 20 x 16 inches (with the exception of two 20 x 20-inch works). Parke chose this small size for both practical and artistic reasons: she recently moved into a smaller studio, and like many of us during the pandemic, had been thinking about living and working in confined spaces and in close proximity to her own thoughts. When working small, she feels closer to the material and believes that one can read more of the mark-making. Parke comes from a traditional landscape painting background—having studied light, shade and shadow, temperature and color relationships—all of which she applies to her unique method of painting interiors.
Parke is interested in Cezanne’s idea of ‘passing through objects,’ which expresses a sense of depth and planar elision, and explores fluid space and movement through rooms. In Midnight Holly, one passes through the first doorway, towards the green doors in the back. In Copenhagen Coffee the color of the sky climbs up the wallpaper, asking the viewer to consider inside versus outside. The open windows, prevalent in almost every painting, offers an infinite 3D space outside, beyond the small, 2D canvas.
The artist rarely considers the people who occupy these intimate rooms, but prefers to imagine that she herself lives in each one, surrounded by bouquets, birds, coffeepots, towels and teacups, signaling domesticity and routine. The presumed spring and summer seasons conjure feelings of desire, longing and fullness. Parke’s intimate paintings offer empathy and hospitality to travelers, wanderers and nomads, along with a place to renew oneself. Melanie lives and works in Arcadia, Michigan.
For further information and to see more images, please contact Liz Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-796-2146. Susan Eley Fine Art is open Tuesday through Friday from 11am-5pm. Appointments are available upon request.