Adrian Deckbar | Water's Edge

Page 1

reception march 6


6–9 pm



In the acrylic paintings, pastels, and drawings that comprise Adrian Deckbar’s Water’s Edge, the artist evolves her fascination with the power and duality of the natural world. A native New Orleanian who for many years taught drawing at Tulane University, Deckbar first earned renown as a narrative realist figure painter. In the summer of 2003, an intense aesthetic epiphany opened her to the extraordinary possibilities of painting nature in all its majesty and ambiguity. Her impeccable technique was well-suited to this material and has grown increasingly freer and more impressionistic in response to the organicism of her subject matter. Her compositions lead the viewer into kingdoms of dappled light and shadows in which secrets and surprises lurk, awaiting discovery. The current body of work stems from a visit to Honey Island Swamp in St. Tammany Parish. To the artist, the swamp—with its teeming plant life, algae, and rotting undergrowth—encapsulated nature’s eternal oscillation between luxuriance and decay. The theatricality and optical finesse with which she evokes the play of golden, late-day light on grasses, moss, and reflective water surfaces, owe more to Caravaggio and Degas than to Flemish landscape painters or the Hudson River School. It is as if Deckbar the erstwhile narrative painter has widened her focus from the minds and inner lives of her sitters to the omniscient mind of nature itself. The recipient of prestigious grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Deckbar has been featured in more than 50 solo and group exhibitions around the nation and the world. Her paintings and drawings have been acquired into prominent museums, as well as corporate and private collections. Broadly acclaimed for their lyricism and beauty, her works also incorporate a subversive quality rooted in nature’s dual capacities for inspiration and destruction, pastoral romanticism and Darwinian amorality. It is, Deckbar says, “this gnarly, uncontrolled, magical quality” that she aims to depict in her vistas, skyscapes, and details of primordial terrain and waterworlds in which no human presence is discernible. These are visions of physical environment with metaphysical overtones. They seep into the viewer’s consciousness and change with the viewer’s moods, revealing and withholding nuances that cannot be seen, but can be known.

Richard Speer

exhibition dates february 5th - march 28th, 2010 reception march 6th 6–9 pm Front Cover: Water’s Edge, acrylic on canvas, 48” x 48”, 2009

Cypress Reflections # 2 acrylic on linen, 48” x 36”, 2009

Water’s Edge (Part I), acrylic on canvas, 48” x 60”, 2009

Water’s Edge (Part II), acrylic on canvas, 48” x 60”, 2009

Water’s Edge # 2, acrylic on canvas, 36” x 60”, 2009

Primordial # 3, acrylic on linen, 36” x 48”, 2008


Water’s Edge Reflection (detail of part I), acrylic on canvas PHOTOGRAPHY © MIKE SMITH ARTWORK © ADRIAN DECKBAR 2009 CATALOG © GALLERY BIENVENU 2009