Wednesday, July 30, 2014


There are some wonderfully intimate art institutions the world over where you don't have to stand in long lines and fight big crowds to see some great art. The Gardner in Boston, the Courtauld in London, and the Phillips in Washington DC quickly come to mind. All favorites. But last week I rediscovered a old gem, my new favorite. My BMF! The Frick on Fifth and 70th next to the park in New York! 

I was in town to "give a talk" (read the "artist is present" in truth) during the Chelsea Art Walk for a show of my paintings at the Prince Street Gallery, and I wanted to give my family who had been sweet enough to join me a good reason to have made the trip. I decided on an old standby, the Frick, and no one was disappointed.

Right off the bat you turn a corner and get blasted out of the water with an excuse me, gee, before you even have time to think, an exquisite, shy as you please, on your left over a chair, right there before your eyes, no fanfare, no bullet proof glass or guards, just like, ho hum and by the way, a frickin Vermeer. It sets the tone. Pronto! Your day just got really good. You are in for a treat. Pinch yourself! You could turn around now and the four hour drive into Manhattan and the two rooms at the Plaza were worth it! A gorgeous frickin signature Vermeer! Not something you see every day! 

You pause, try not to shout at the top of your lungs about the pocket of light the artist welcomes into a private meeting between a gentleman and a lady seated at a table. Is he there to court her, or to plan a trip, or to arrest her? It is at once formal and incredibly personal. We invade a moment.

And then they're just showing off. Before you can even catch your breath there's another one! And then across the small hallway is a Bronzino, that is like oh my god, bring me to my knees, put every artist to shame, beautiful. A Bronzino so familiar to every art lover in the world you can't believe your eyes, and there it is, just you and it in what feels like the quietest dimly lit corridor. When Procol Harum wrote Nights in White Satin, they should have said black and green.

After that it just gets gaudy. El Greco. A Rembrandt self-portrait that haunted every artist from Manet and Goya to Bacon and Motherwell. Whose eyes rest at the edge of a forest, and peer into you like God. Nothing less. 

And a Reynold's portrait that has all a portrait could ask for in a stylish bit of contemporary pomp and circumstance with drama to boot, and a nod to both da Vinci and Michelangelo and its giddy patron all at once. Rivals Gainsborough and Whistler are every bit as much in play as well, and every bit his match. 

For while there are remarkable Turner landscapes and charming della Francescas, as well as a jaw dropping Chardin still-life, this is really all about portraits. The Gainsborough comes at you like an apparition through eons of time and space. The Whistlers seem to dwell in a realm of their own, where the laws of nature are different, where sound and light are muted, and everything takes place in a gaze.

Did I say five minutes? Take the afternoon, and spend it with a little Degas in a corner and just keep your mouth closed as you try not to gape, and failing to contain yourself, you fawn over his dancers in the hush of absolute intimacy with just the two of you, and some violin.

Addison Parks, Spring Hill, the end of July 2014

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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

ADDISON PARKS: Source Paintings at Prince Street

Addison Parks, Blue Burn, 2005, oil on canvas, 9 x 12 inches

Addison Parks's signature idiom is like the whorl of a fingerprint, wholly his own. Approaching, circling, swerving away, again approaching, patterns gather into shapes that stay in motion. His process is direct, unmediated by the brush, squeezed directly from tubes of paint, articulated with his fingers. He discovers high-keyed color harmonies more brilliant than those that exist in nature. Blue Burn is a firestorm of cold blues, swatches of a sooty black streaked with white fissures, and sparked by a small scratch of leaping yellow. His paintings arouse our haptic sense of tactile texture. As Jon Friedman once wrote about Parks, “[Natural] appearance has been shucked in order that the substance can be seized.” His exhibition in July at Prince Street Gallery in New York concentrates on Source Paintings, his new series from 2007 to the present. Parks summers in Truro." 

Christopher Busa, Provincetown Arts Magazine, Summer 2014

Installation photographs: Source Paintings by Addison Parks at Prince Street Gallery, 530 25th Street, Chelsea, NYC, July 8 - 26, 2014

Prince Street Gallery panorama shot of Source Paintings

Source Paintings by Addison Parks at Prince Street Gallery July 2014

Old Skies (2007),  Pass It On (2008-2009)

Source Paintings by Addison Parks at Prince Street Gallery

Prince Street Gallery; When Madame Has A Headache (2009)

Prince Street Gallery installation of Source Paintings by Addison Parks

Press Release

Prince Street Gallery Installation
Old Skies (2007) , Pass It on (2008-2009), Dragonfly (2012)

When Madame has a Headache (2009),
I'll Thank You For Not Ruining My Croissant (2014)

Prince Street Gallery Installation of Source Paintings by Addison Parks

Prince Street Gallery Installation of Source Paintings
Verse (2008-2010), Whale Song (2014), Wintersbeach (2014)

Whalesong (2014), Wintersbeach (2014), Viking Funeral (2014)

Duck&Weave (2014), Stations of the Crosstown Bus (2014)

Pass It On (2008-2009), Dragonfly (2012)

Prince Street Gallery Installation Shot; Source Paintings by Addison Parks

Art in America and Provincetown Arts Ad

Addison Parks with Source Paintings at Prince Street Gallery 2014

Addison Parks with paintings by boyhood teacher
Gino Severini at the Guggenheim Futurism exhibition

With Special thanks to Martin Mugar, Stacey Parks, Mary Salstrom, and Gina Werfel, without whom this show would never have happened,  and also to John Baker and Nina Nielsen for their much appreciated curatorial assistance and support.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Addison Parks / Prince Street Gallery / July Show

Here's a little of what's going on in my world.

Viking Funeral (2014) oil on linen, 16" x 20"

From July 8th to July 26th, 2014Prince Street Gallery will be showing Source Paintings by Addison Parks. These works turn on the simple premise of a center point from which springs a life force not unlike a flower, plant or a fountain. They locate that moment of transcendence and transformation in a single gesture.  As Parks happily concedes, just an excuse to paint. "My belief is that painting is a more-than-the-sum-of-the-parts proposition," he explains. "I'm counting on that. That all things get caught and trapped in and between layers of paint. Since I was a boy I have always been wowed by the power of painting to speak beautifully for life; that I would give myself completely to that is my oldest memory."
Addison Parks lives with his wife and children a stone's throw from Walden Pond. He earned his painting chops as a boy in the Via Margutta artist community in Rome in the early 60's, studying with Gino Severini, and then later in New York at the invitation of Richard Tuttle after picking up a BFA from RISD (’76). He did murals at PS1 in 1980, was one of Seven Americans at Washburn in '82, and had a solo show that same year in the Fuller Building at the Andrew Crispo Gallery. His first son was born while he was teaching at the Putney School in Vermont, and afterwards he travelled and showed in Europe. After teaching at RISD in the late 80's he ended up in Boston where he wrote an art column for the Christian Science Monitor, and showed with the Creiger/Dane Gallery, Nielsen, and later Bow Street in Harvard Square. He also has a summer studio in Truro, just outside of Provincetown, where he has been on the board of directors of Provincetown Arts, and on more than one occasion shown at DNA. His work has been written up in the New York Times, ARTS Magazine, and the Boston Globe." 
The Prince Street Gallery reception for Source Paintings will be on Thursday, July 10, from 5 to 8pm. The artist will be present. A catalog will be available.

Verse (2010) oil on canvas, 36" x 60"
Pass It On (2009) oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
Old Skies (2007), oil on board, 24" x 36"
When Madame Has A Headache (2009) oil on canvas, 60" x 72"
Whale Song (2014) oil on linen, 18" x 24"
Addison Parks; Wroots (2014) Oil on linen; 20 x 16

Addison Parks; Green Thumber (2014) oil on linen, 16 x 20 inches

Addison Parks; Stations of the Crosstown Bus(2014)

Prince Street Gallery 

530 West 25th St, 4th Floor,
New York, NY 10001

Tel. 646.230.0246
Subway: C,E to 23rd Street
Hours: Tues.- Sat. 11am-6pm