Leslie Parke
Golf Juan I
22.5 inches x 34 inches
archival ink-jet print, photograph
© Leslie Parke 2016


Artist Leslie Parke will exhibit her large-scale photographs in an exhibition called PARTICLE/WAVE at the Bennington Museum, Bennington Vermont, from October 9 through December 30, 2016. Please join Parke for the Artist’s Reception on Saturday, October 15, 2016 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm in the Regional Artists’ Gallery. The reception is part of Community Day, Celebrating Art which offers free admission all day.

“For years I used photography as an aid to my painting. Then I had a studio with Robert Wolterstorff , director of the Bennington Museum. He asked me why I didn’t print my photographs. My immediate response was, “I’m a painter.” The seed was planted, and over the next years I did start printing my photographs.

My approach remains largely that of a painter. I want the photograph to look like a painting and be responded to as a painting. I looked at archival inkjet printers as a new painting medium. There are things they can do that you cannot do in paint, and they offer colors that have a kind of luminosity you don’t always find in oils.  I was interested in the way the ink reacted to the watercolor-like paper, and how one can achieve a density in the black that is not always possible in paint. Basically I was painting with a camera.

Just to be clear, the images are not created in Photoshop. When I photographed wrapped cargo, I liked the fact that the surface changed with the light and weather. It reflected what was around it. The local color of the object was almost never the color that you saw. These surfaces worked like Monet’s pond, reflecting the atmosphere around it. It is like exploring the ideas of quantum physics. I undo what it is that we understand about something. Is it a painting or a photograph?  Is it something real or something abstract? Are we looking through something, at something, or at something reflected? I think that the more times I am able to multiply these questions, the more interesting things become.”

Robert Wolterstorff, Executive Director of Bennington Museum has followed Parke’s work for many years. “Leslie has been making photographs for years, but they served as the raw material for her paintings, a means of discovering and recording the world that was always intended to be translated into a language of gesture and paint. But when she first showed them to me I was fascinated, and I urged her to think of them as independent works of art. Leslie Parke’s photographs of the last three years still grapple with the Modernist concern with abstraction and surface, but bring this forward into a 21st-century digital language. They incorporate contemporary concerns about the nature of reality, the trustworthiness of our perceptions and the sustainability of our civilization, while offering visual and intellectual delight.”

Leslie Parke, an artist from upstate New York, is a recipient of the Esther and Adolph Gottlieb Grant for Individual Support, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest grant as artist- in-residence at the Claude Monet Foundation in Giverny, France, and the George Sugarman Foundation Grant, among others. Her exhibits include the Williams College Museum of Art; The Bennington Museum, Bennington, Vermont; the Museum of the Southwest, Midland, Texas; the Fernbank Museum, Atlanta, Georgia; the Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin; and the Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Parke has a BA and MA from Bennington College. Her work is in numerous corporate and private collections.