Over the course of time my work has explored landscape themes, through sculptural, drawn, and painted mediums. Having begun art making with traditional imagery and media, I focused on representational landscapes during my young adulthood. In 1984 I expressed them sculpturally in a series of bronzes; modeled in wax, they were virtually “exploding” paintings with layers seemingly torn from their frame. In 1986 I garnered a public art commission while an Artist-In-Residence (Maryland State Council in the Arts Grant); the commission consisted of a “sculptural landscape painting” as a triptych. In the 1990’s I worked the theme in paintings with spontaneous, architectural markings and a nearly monochrome palette, and I was also making ceramic vessels that offered ruptured surfaces and edges, and utilized water as a sculptural component. The drawings and vessels referred to each other. The late 1990’s found me returning to paint and exploring pure color through stylized animal and botanical imagery with patterned mark making, an exercise which offered me discovery through departure.
My paintings now are a continuation of my earliest and most persistent explorations. I see light as tangible and therefore malleable, which I express through bent perspectives and a abstracted forms and color within the compositions. With these paintings I am combining what I have learned about edges, about contained spaces, and about color and movement. My paintings now are gestural, “carving” a sense of light as an active force within the compositions. These challenge expectations about landscape representation by “folding” both light and perspectives around otherwise traditional forms; the result at once recognizable and somewhat unsettling. An early result is seen in “Stony Brook Tributary” and “Gunpowder River, Summer Haze” in which receding tree lines converge in prismatic forms and the otherwise naturally separated points pulled together to the one plane.
Having raised my family for 20 years, and made them my focus during that time, my return to the easel as dedicated time is as much new and foreign as it is a return to a familiar place. I feel both adventure and confirmation in it.
– Léni Paquet-Morante