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EMMA TAPLEY! ICELANDIC SKETCHES


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EMMA TAPLEY! !

ICELANDIC SKETCHES !

March 11 - April 2, 2017 !

Reception for the Artist March 11th 6-8 PM ! ! ! !

TheoGanz Studio Beacon, NY 12508 theoganzstudio.com 917.318.2239 !


! Emma Tapley: The Iceland Paintings ! Artists are forever traveling to far-off places, it seems, searching for authenticity and inspiration. As if to put into practical action their metaphorical mission, they explore new worlds beyond the comfortable and familiar confines of the bourgeois studio. It’s a journey that combines the rationality of science -- careful observations of botany, topology, archeology, anthropology and geology -- with the metaphysical disciplines of philosophy and esthetics. It’s a quest for new visions of two kinds, inner and outer. Frederic Edwin Church sought god’s immanence in the heart of the Andes, Paul Gauguin fled a cloying civilization for the fearful spirits of Polynesia, and Robert Smithson abandoned metropolitan modernism for the tideless entropy of the Utah salt flats. For the New York painter Emma Tapley, the destination was a residency in Hersudid, a remote corner of the storied 40,000-square-mile island nation of Iceland. At first glance, the sub-Arctic landscape offers a subject quite unlike Tapley’s earlier works, which are more temperate woodland scenes, notable for their dappled forest colors as well as sophisticated plays of reflection in streams and shadowed pools. Landscape is always about the sublime, however -- that awe-struck feeling we get facing the elements -and so it is in Tapley's new pictures. Small and done in oil on paper, linen and clay-coated panels, these stripped-down vistas of sea and mountain, confined within borders not much larger than two hands placed together, have a restrained visual economy that parallels the emotional reserve that we associate with a life of the barest essentials.   “Beauty, terror, power,” in Walt Whitman’s words, are the subliminal subjects of Tapley’s landscapes, stripped of the slightest hint of Claudean Arcadia, that classic spirit animating less dystopic images of Eden. As a New York artist, she is grounded in the emotional severity and grandeur of Abstract Expressionism, a sense of spirit that has abandoned the metropolitan art world, now narrated by academic conceits and overcome by commercial values. It is, then, a flight to primitive nature to refresh the soul. In a seascape, Tapley looks out at a scene of whitewater roiling about jagged shards of lava, black silhouettes that jut upwards like gothic spires


! ! ! towards a plate gray sky. Listen and you can hear the inexhaustible roar of the elements, an unbounded oceanic force pulsing against eternally obdurate geology. Other paintings peer out at a distance of peaks that seem either bare or ice-bound, the foreground empty of all but gravel and stone, finely ground down by glaciers and tides. The sky lights up with a cold mist, or clouds that shred in the freezing air. Am I being too dramatic? Iceland was discovered and colonized more than a thousand years ago, and promptly stripped of its native trees. Modern efforts at reforestation have been successful, in Tapley’s paintings becoming dark lines of primal greenery as unyielding as time and history. Even the flora here is somber.   In many of these paintings, any human presence would be negligible, ineffective, beside the point. The world has already been scoured of anything of conceivable use. In their stead Tapley gives us portraits of domesticated animals, sheep and horses, bundled in their natural pelts, staring dumbly out from their expanse at the uncomprehending viewer. They seem as timeless and as mute as the earth itself, completely beyond our ken, their consciousness at one with the world around them. Clearly, the more distant we feel from our primal origins, however civilized we might pretend to be, the greater is our need for a spiritual connection with nature. The question Tapley’s paintings ask is whether the Manichaean struggle between us and the elements can also be a loving embrace.

! -- Walter Robinson, March 2017 ! ! ! ! !


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Icelandic Sheep #1 2016 oil on linen to panel 5 3/8 x 8 in ! ! !


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Icelandic Sheep #2 2016 oil on yupo paper to panel


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Icelandic Sheep #3 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 5 x 7 in


Icelandic Sheep #4 2017 oil on linen to panel 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 in


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Icelandic Sheep #5 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 5 x 5 in


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Icelandic Horses 2016 oil on yupo paper to panel 7 x 9 in


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Icelandic Waterfall #1 2016 oil on clayboard to panel 8 x 10 in


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Icelandic Waterfall #2 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 5 x 7 in !


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Icelandic Waterfall #3 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 5 x 7 in !


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Icelandic Forest #1 2016 oil on yupo paper to panel 7 x 9 in


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Icelandic Forest #2 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 8 x 10 in


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Southern Coast of Reykjanes #2 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 11 x 14 in


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Southern Coast of Reykjanes #3 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 11 x 14 in !


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Southern Coast of Reykjanes #1 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 8 x 10 in !


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SkĂştustadahreppur 2016 oil on yupo paper to panel 7 x 9 in !


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Cloud, Mountain, Horse #1 2016 oil on yupo paper to panel 7 x 9 in !


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Cloud, Mountain, Horse #2 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 8 x 10 in


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Cloud, Mountain, Horse #3 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 8 x 10 in


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Cloud, Mountain, Horse #4 2016 oil on clayboard to panel 8 x 10 in


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Nordurland #1 2016 oil on yupo paper to panel 7 x 9 in !


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Nordurland #2 2016 oil on yupo paper to panel 7 x 9 in !


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Nordurland #3 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 8 x 10 in


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Fjallabyggรฐ #2 2016 oil on linen to panel 8 x 9 3/4 in


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Fjallabyggรฐ #1 2016 oil on yupo paper to panel 7 x 9 in


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Fjallabyggรฐ #3 2016 oil on linen to panel 8 x 9 7/8 in


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Fjallabyggรฐ #4 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 8 x 10 in


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Siglufjรถrรฐur #1 2017 oil on yupo paper to panel 7 x 9 in


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Siglufjรถrรฐur #2 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 8 x 10 in


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After Snow 2017 oil on clayboard to panel 8 x 10 in


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All Paintings/Photographs © Emma Tapley 2017 All Rights Reserved !


TheoGanz Studio Beacon, New York

Emma Tapley / Icelandic Sketches  

Paintings by Emma Tapley from a residency in Iceland on view at TheoGanz Studio, Beacon, NY from March 11 - April 2, 2017. Foreword written...

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