"Wood grain represents vocal chords or guitar strings vibrating” —Ellen Hackl Fagan
Due to its resonant properties, craftspeople have utilized wood to create instruments throughout history. Wood, by its very nature, is the ideal conduit for producing and amplifying music.
By extension, the rhythm of woodgrain offers its inherent musicality as well to the visual artist. This collaboration between artist and material creates a conversation that is often initiated even before the work actually begins.
Wood grain is the original action painting. The action implied is the slow, patient, and persistent accretion of layers of time; with each tree ring representing a year of its growth. The mechanical process through which plywood is made, while unnatural to the tree, nevertheless creates its own set of rhythms and repetitions. Even the patterns of the man-made plywood distort and amplify the natural record of the tree’s existence.
With the Grain will explore the range of artists who work directly with wood grain. Alyse Rosner, Natalia Nakazawa, Jenny Carpenter, and Susan Jennings all incorporate the grain as a compositional element. For painters such as Deanna Lee, Patricia Fabricant, Alicia Philley, Beth Reisman, and Ellen Hackl Fagan, the grain directly dictates the composition. In contrast, Jesse Lambert and Paul Gagner meticulously replicate wood grain as an integral part of their paintings. Cheryl Molnar’s, Jim Osman’s, Alvin Goldberg’s and Frank Parga’s works allow the raw grain to serve as a backdrop to their compositions.
The connection between human existence and trees is particularly potent in the present moment. Trees may be all that stand between our planet and environmental annihilation. The world’s forests are under siege. An exhibition showcasing the strong yet fragile beauty of our trees and the art they inspire is both timeless and timely.
*In the interest of safeguarding our community members, the opening reception for With the Grain will take place outdoors, with staggered viewing of the exhibition staged throughout the opening hours. Invited guests are requested to wear masks and follow NY social distancing protocol. The opening will occur rain or shine.