Creon is pleased to present New York artist Mary Hrbacek’s “Life Before Life,” a solo exhibition of her recent drawings and acrylic on linen paintings. With scrupulous observation of unique anthropomorphic trees, and an amazingly dexterous hand, Hrbacek explores the parallels between human structural traits and tree forms, and tests the margin between imagination and belief. In an age when human activity increasingly puts natural ecosystems under siege, Hrbacek’s semi-abstract imagery evokes the interconnectedness of the web of life and exhorts empathy with all living things.
Hrbacek’s work springs from the gestural presence of individual trees, including trees found on a recent road-trip to the coastal peninsulas and national parks of Ireland. Her paintings address the relevance of trees to the existence of the peoples of the world. Jolting nature’s balance by using a searing graphic approach to picture making, the artist’s trees, often positioned against a beautiful sky, appear to be talking to us. Her use of charcoal made from tree bark in her “Black On Black” drawings, “trees to make trees” is a kind of magical recycling.
“I want my pictures to speak of trees the way “Mona Lisa” speaks through the ages of the feminine mystique; to be eternal like the Pyramids, or perhaps,” as she kiddingly adds, like Andy Warhol’s “Soup Cans” and Marcel Duchamp’s “Urinal.” Whenever I start a new work I experience the same tensions and expectations that explorers from the Age of Discovery must have felt. Each piece that I create is a daunting voyage in search of an unknown world. My hope is that my work will illuminate the mysterious essences of what we call life that reside within all trees.”
Echoing similar sentiments, New York art critic Edward Rubin recently wrote, “the arboreal creations of Hrbacek, no matter how complicated the thoughts that we append to them, or the superlative degree of the artist's masterly drawing and painting technique, leave us with a vision of a tree that seems to signal that there is a God after all.”
MARY HRBACEK, an artist and art critic based in NYC has exhibited at The Parrish Art Museum, the National Academy Museum, NYC, and internationally in China, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, soon in Greece and in Canada, where Lynn Ruscheinsky, the “Drawn Festival,” selected her for a two-person show at Elliott Louis Gallery, Vancouver. She is a member of AICA (International Association of Art Critics). At Roger Smith, D.D. Lombardi curated a (five-month) solo installation of her “Black on Black” human-tree charcoal drawings, engendered by her drawing at “The American Drawing Biennial VI,” Muscarelle Museum (College of William and Mary), VA, awarded the Juror’s Prize from Ann Philbin of the Drawing Center. Edward Rubin chose her work for his exhibit “At the End All That Remains Is a Good Story: Eight New York Artists Figuratively Speaking,” that opened in 2012 to critical acclaim at the Fran Hill Gallery in Toronto, Canada. She exhibited in “Covert Narratives,”curated by Thalia Vrachropoulos at the Tenri Institute, NYC. Of her various university exhibitions, the most recent will be the “Small Works” show curated by Rich Timperio at Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, 2015. Her current exhibition, “Life Before Life” marks her fourth solo show at Creon. HOURS: Tues & Wed 7 – 8, Sat. 12 – 6 pm Weekend - c 917.549.9945, T 646.265.5508 CREON 238 East 24 Street, IB, NYC 10010 Contact: Norm Hin