James Lechay (1907-2001), "Untitled (Still Life)," 1994, oil on canvas, 32 x 28 inches
When I reviewed the gallery’s new acquisitions and saw James Lechay’s Untitled (Still Life), I thought to myself: “what a bold statement!” It’s a fair-sized painting—32 by 28 inches—and consists of a limited number of shapes grouped together in such a way as to suggest a bouquet of flowers in a vase (the artist injecting a whimsical note into the composition by eliminating the stems of the blossoms). Painted in a rich gold, edged by areas of raw canvas and set against a brown background, this is not just a semi-abstract still life; to me, it also represents a dynamic interplay of negative and positive space that invites further contemplation on the part of the viewer—as I stood back from the piece, the configuration of shapes took on other thematic possibilities, including that of an animal’s paw print; I just couldn’t stop looking. Continue reading →
In 1977, Helene Aylon, friend of Betty Parsons, interviewed the then seventy-seven year old artist; the interview appeared that same year in Woman Art Magazine.
This interview, of which an excerpt is posted below, includes conversation between Parsons and Aylon which touches on everything from the artist’s relationship with other female artists to her views on Abstract Expressionism (and many topics in between).
This is an enlightening, empowering interview—and certainly well worth a read!
HA: You knew Martha Graham, Marlene Dietrich, and after all, you played tennis with Greta Garbo!
BP: Two or three times. Interesting the way I met her. I was asked on Christmas Eve by her ghost writer, Salka Fiertel. She said, “Come over and we are going to dress the tree.” I got there and Salka said, “go up to the attic and bring down a great big box of Christmas dressings…” So I went up there, and Greta and I stared at each other over the top of the box.