September 15 - October 30, 2010
Senior & Shopmaker Gallery is pleased to open the fall season with Ellen Phelan: Kenjockety, a series of digital pigment prints on view from September 15th-October 31st. In this body of work Phelan turns her attention to specific sites in the Adirondack region of Lake Champlain that have long provided inspiration for her paintings and watercolors and where her summer studio is located.
Although her work of the 1970s is firmly based in conceptual abstraction, Phelan is best known for both her plein-air landscapes and evocative portraits of dolls begun in the early 1980s which she continues to develop to this day. The formal genesis of her work is inspired by classical sources such as Corot, Turner, and Whistler, artists whose mastery of atmospheric tonality and luminosity lies close to her own sensibility.
While Phelan bases her work on intense observation, she also relies upon her own photographs, generally old Kodachrome slides or prints, which provide the foundation for the images in the Kenjockety Series. The photographs were enlarged and hand-colored with washes of varying opacity; these were then scanned and printed on 34 x 46 inch sheets of Somerset Velvet paper at Laumont Studios in New York. Pigment printing allows for rich color saturation and enhances Phelan’s understated palette. While certain images, such as Autumn Garden and Hollyhocks retain their photographic basis, others like Summer Late Morning and Blue Trellis II are suffused in an ambient blur that leaves them barely decipherable. Phelan’s blending of the particular and the abstract, the actual and the imagined, create a delicate tension. The artist says of her work, “I was never interested in gesture for its own sake. I was and still am more interested in gesture that arrives at form. In other words, what you’re doing is making marks on a surface, and without this exploration of different ways of trying to make this tension exist between image and object, it would otherwise fall into the convention of naturalistic space.”
Ellen Phelan, born in Detroit in 1943, resides in New York. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Fogg Museum of Art, Cambridge, MA; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Mexico City among others.
Gallery hours: Tues-Fri. 10am-6pm; Saturday 11am-6pm.
For further information, please contact Betsy Senior or Laurence Shopmaker, at 212-213-6767 or firstname.lastname@example.org.