Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Floradora: Floral and flora-inspired paintings at Art/Place Gallery, Fairfield, Connecticut.

My wife and I went to the Art/Place Gallery in Fairfield, Connecticut for the opening of the exhibition Floradora, featuring works by the painters Mollie Keller and Susanne Andover Keany. All images of artwork in this post are © Mollie Keller or © Susanne Andover Keany, and are posted here with permission.

Paintings by Mollie Keller:

Mollie is a long time friend of my wife's and, more recently, of mine. The photo above shows her standing among an array of her more recent paintings, which are in a more abstract, floral-inspired style than her earlier ones. As she wrote in her artist's statement accompanying the exhibition:
In these pictures I have traced my personal relationship with flowers. I began as a careful observer, eager to catch every line and lilt of a petal so that the viewer would really see the bloom. I moved on to more painterly portraits in which I used watercolor to convey the interplay of form and light in a blossom. And now I am using oil to capture the sensations I feel when I contemplate the particular essence of each bud.
The paintings in the photo above are, from left to right: Blossom, Kaddish for Ruth, Vine, and Kaddish for Deni.
Here's a closer view of the small painting Blossom, showing the quality of Mollie's brushwork in oil.
Here are some of Mollie's earlier works: from left, Iris, top right Nosegay, and bottom right Bluebells, all watercolor on paper.
This shows the same three paintings, along with three other of Mollie's earlier works, top to bottom: Dandelion, Chinese Lanterns, and Calla Lily; all watercolor and pencil on paper. These are examples of her more "painterly portraits".
Here are three of Mollie's more recent works: Spring (oil on canvas), top left; Overgrown (oil on paper), bottom left; and Hibiscus (oil on canvas).
These: Red Rose I, II, and III, all oil on canvas, exemplify Mollie's contemporary, highly impressionistic style.
Here is Mollie's one non-(or post) floral entry in the show: the elegant miniature Golden Fruit (ink, gouache, and gold leaf, on parchment).

Paintings by Suzanne Andover Keany:
Suzaanne Andover Keany, whom I met for the first time at the exhibit, works in what, on the surface, seems a very naturalistic style. The paintings above are, from left to right: Amaryllis, Wish I Was There, and Before the Rain (all oil on canvas). Her artist's statement includes the following:
Painting is a surprising journey...All the literary meanings come into play. Flowers greet us and send us off. They mark our journey. They celebrate love and commemorate grief. They are everywhere for everyone.
Painting for me is a luxury, a dialogue with what is.
Here are four of her tempera on paper studies, Clockwise from bottom left: Blooming, Busy Lizzie, Close Up, and Spring.
Here are two of Ms. Keany's oil on canvas paintings that include other than floral elements: Valentine (left), that has shells along with a long-stemmed rose, and For Georgia, an homage to Georgia O'Keefe, who incorporated cattle skulls and feathers as well as flowers in her works.

Floradora will remain open through Sunday, March 27, 2016. If you're in or near Fairfield, or can get there, I recommend it highly.

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