Katherine Parker: chants/chance


Spanierman Modern is pleased to announce the opening on February 6, 2014, of Katherine Parker: chants/chance an exhibition and sale of new large-scale abstractions in which Parker considers the porous relationships that each of us has with our subconscious selves. Her vibrant many-layered works explore the amorphous and elusive nature of memory, reflected in fragments of truth that are visible, hidden, or reconfigured in the mind.


Katherine Parker (b. 1958)
Behind or Above, 2011
Oil on canvas, 60 x 54 inches

Parker begins her paintings within the framework of grids. Echoing the repetition of chants, these often draw her into a meditative state by their quiet lull. When elements of chance and the unexpected arise, she allows them to dictate the direction in which she proceeds. She states: “I seek resolution slowly through a balance of intention and discovery.  In the process, I explore transparency and loss and the tension between the planned and the unpredictable.”

This exhibition includes two sets of paintings addressing slightly different themes. The first consists of paintings with closely related colors and precariously balanced, stacked forms. In them, large masses tend to hover, break up, or dissolve. Some appear weightless while others seem heavy and earthbound. For example, in Behind and Below, the variegated shades of red are similar, but a large pink form threatens to break off and float away. Another form, outlined in black, suggests a void or a missing shape.

In the second group, including Bodies at Rest, I Found It Here, and In the Margins, Parker uses layers of white and tinted color along with charcoal marks that form partially smudged grids. Other marks stubbornly take on importance, often setting the emotional tone for a painting. In the Margins is dominated by a massive, centrally placed white square. However, the interesting part of the painting is in the layered history located at its edges.


Katherine Parker (b. 1958)
Flight, 2013
Oil and enamel paint on canvas, 60 x 60 inches


Although Parker is influenced by the attitude and rigor of the New York School, she strives for an expressive vision that is modest rather than sublime. She says, “My paintings are a recording of the quiet and personal—moments of everyday life filtered through the particular and profound.”

Parker received her B.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and her M.F.A. from Columbia University. She has exhibited at the Queens College Art Center (solo show); the Jersey City Museum (solo show); the Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, New Jersey; P.S. 1 (MOMA), New Jersey State Museum, Trenton; the National Catholic Museum, New York; Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey; and the Noyes Museum, Oceanville, New Jersey.  She has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and Yaddo.  She is represented in the collections of the Jersey City Museum, Trenton; New York University Law School; Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey; and the Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, New Jersey.




Piri Halasz Reviews “Ten Modern and Contemporary Artists”

Frank WImberley - Tide Murmur, 2011

Frank Wimberley (b. 1926), "Tide Murmur," 2011, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 60 inches

Spanierman Gallery invites you to view the  exhibition Ten Modern and Contemporary Artists, presenting works created from the mid-twentieth century to the present by ten artists: Frank Bowling, Dan Christensen, Teo González, Carol Hunt, Stephen Pace, Charlotte Park, Katherine Parker, Betty Parsons, Neil Williams, and Frank Wimberley Please read the following review of the exhibition by Piri Halasz from her online art column From the Mayor’s Doorstep. This exhibition ends this Saturday, July 16th, at 5:30PM.

July 11, 2011

By Piri Halasz

Uptown, Spanierman has turned the “historical” side of its gallery into a stage for “Ten Modern and Contemporary Artists” (through July 16—a collagist is in Spanierman Modern). The focus in the group show is on artists older than the LaViola group, and/or artists practicing the gestural painting led by de Kooning in the 50s. Among them are Betty Parsons (better known as a dealer, but occasionally piquant as a painter), Charlotte Park, Stephen Pace, Neil Williams (shaped canvases in Day-Glo colors half-way between Zox and Stella), Carol Hunt, Katherine Parker, and Teo González. The three who stood out for me were Dan Christensen, Frank Bowling and Frank Wimberley. The first two, I am sure, are familiar to most of my readers, but they may not be aware that here is a chance to see five or six fine paintings by each.

Dan Christensen - Bill's Drift, 1979

Dan Christensen (1942-2007), "Bill's Drift," 1979, acrylic on canvas, 57-1/2 x 29-1/2 inches

The large “LS” (1967) by Christensen, displayed in the gallery’s window, is a magnificent example of the artist’s softly-hued spray paintings, built up of horizontal strokes of cream and gray, hints of brighter hues peeping through. Also handsome is “Wave” (1987), a small narrow horizontal, with white and red striations across it, and especially “Bill’s Drift” (1979). This was a type of painting by Christensen that I’d never seen before, with a yellow field dominated by a diagonally vertical stripe of Kelly green, and lesser accents of purple, pink, orange and blue. I also saw five paintings by Bowling – 2 from the 70s, one from 1980, 2 from last year. The two recent ones, “Old Altar Piece” and “Wreath,” were both welcome and familiar, but the two from the 70s were unexpected and gave me fresh jolts. “Flame” (1975) is blended vertical stripes of color, the broadest being mauve and the narrow one next to it, a surprising red, while “Sanovski” (1977) is a knockout, with an intricate rainbow of pale colors, blended like the feathers on a peacock’s tail.

Wimberley (b. 1926) is the least known of the three, and I was only able to see three paintings by him. One left me cold, but the other two were impressive. This artist works with a defiantly flat matte finish. His “Immixture” (2011) is yellow paint slathered on, in raised short, folded strokes over a black field. “Tide Murmur” (2011) is large horizontal rectangles and narrower stripes of grays and black with accents of white, mustard and a pale bluish gray. With Wimberley, as with Christensen and Bowling, there was one painting on the checklist I couldn’t see, because it was out on approval. I would be irritated except that I’m happy business seems good.

View the exhibition online

Ten Modern & Contemporary Artists Exhibition

Spanierman Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Ten Modern and Contemporary Artists, featuring works created from the mid-twentieth century to the present by ten artists: Frank Bowling, Dan Christensen, Teo González, Carol Hunt, Stephen Pace, Charlotte Park, Katherine Parker, Betty Parsons, Neil Williams, and Frank Wimberley. The exhibition is on view thru June 16, 2011.

Dan Christensen - Redzilla, 2006

Dan Christensen - Redzilla, 2006

A seminal figure in the Abstract Expressionist movement, Betty Parsons (1900–1982) launched the careers of many leading artists through the gallery she ran for thirty years; she was also an artist in her own right, producing abstract paintings and sculpture in which she drew from her stimulating milieu and expressed her own personal and witty responses to her surroundings. Charlotte Park (1918–2010), wife of James Brooks, evolved a unique version of Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s, developing a dynamic, vibrant approach to express a wide emotional range. The New York Times art critic Roberta Smith identified Park as among a few other women artists whose art shows “hints of bodies of work that might sustain further study.” Contemporary with Park, Stephen Pace (1918–2010) enjoyed a long and productive career. He visited the Paris home of Gertrude Stein in the 1940s, became a friend of Milton Avery’s in the 1950s, and trained with Hans Hofmann, whose teachings spurred the direct and vigorous Abstract Expressionist style he developed in the 1950s. In 1961, the critic, Thomas B. Hess, deemed him a “brilliant member of the second generation of New York School painters that burst on the scene, in the early 1950s, fully made, as if from the forehead of the Statue of Liberty.” Continue reading