Exhibition Reveals the Distinct Careers of Three Distinguished Artists
Three East End Artists
This fall The Parrish Art Museum will present three separate exhibitions by notable artists who have longstanding connections to the East End of Long Island. They are: Charlotte Park, Dan Christensen, and Allan Wexler.
All have made important contributions to American art and are well known in their profession. These three have been selected to show the variety of art and artists with homes in the region and to represent several artistic "generations." Charlotte Park (b. 1918) was part of the founding group of artists in Springs. She and her husband, James Brooks, began visiting the area in 1949 and bought their property in 1957. Dan Christensen (b. 1942) represents a younger generation of abstract painters. He has had a home in Springs since 1969. Allan Wexler (b. 1952) is a post-modern sculptor-architect. He spent 20 summers in Mattituck before buying land in Greenport for a studio he plans to start building this year.
Charlotte Park: Work from the 1950s
Like many women artists of her generation, Charlotte Park's career has been largely eclipsed by that of her husband (the noted Abstract Expressionist painter James Brooks, who died in 1992). Although an exhibition of her work from the 1970s was held at Guild Hall Museum in East Hampton in 1979, her extraordinary paintings and works on paper have been rarely shown. In this exhibition, the Parrish will bring together a selection of work from this period that shows the artist's inventive use of a recognizable abstract vernacular to create works that are resoundingly her own.
Charlotte Park was born in Concord, Massachusetts, in 1918, and educated at the Yale School of Fine Arts from which she graduated in 1939. In 1945 she moved to New York City to study with Wallace Harrison. It was there that she met Brooks, and they married in 1947. During the 1950s, she showed regularly at the influential Stable Gallery and was included in the Whitney Annual of 1953. For many years she taught art in New York City at the Dalton School and at The Museum of Modern Art.
Dan Christensen: Selections from a Retrospective
The Parrish exhibition will be a somewhat smaller version (about 25 paintings) of the retrospective organized in 2001 by The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. Because he was one of Clement Greenberg's favorite painters, he is featured prominently in the Portland Art Museum's, Clement Greenberg: The Critic's Collection. This exhibition has been touring nationally and thus has brought about a reexamination of post-Abstract Expressionist painterly abstraction. Christensen's work explores the interdependence of light and color, seemingly expressing the evanescent ways that light can change or alter the airy "medium" that it inhabits. Christensen's color is distinctly lush, challenging strictures against opulence so as to be beautiful, but still unexpected and never banal.
Dan Christensen was born and raised in Cozad, Nebraska, and received his BFA at the Kansas City Art Institute. He has had numerous one-person exhibitions from 1967 to the present and is represented in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, the Chicago Art Institute, the Denver Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of Modern Art. He lives and works in Springs.
Allan Wexler: Recent Work
Allan Wexler recently had a major exhibition organized by the Atlanta College of Art that traveled to the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, and then to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is very well known in Europe, and has shown in nine museums in Germany, as well as in Sweden and Belgium. He has received a number of public sculpture commissions, the most recent of which is a major project for the new Hudson River Park in Manhattan. His work deals with what he calls the "theater of everyday life," transforming ordinary building materials and common furniture into fantasy environments. These cause one to see that even the most common objects have a design, one that directs behavior and action. This design, in turn, determines how the rituals of life -- eating, sleeping, working -- will be conducted. Wexler's witty transformations of things like picnic tables and folding chairs, two by fours and concrete blocks, show us that ordinary activities could, in fact, be radically different.
Allan Wexler was born in 1952. From the Rhode Island School of Design he
received two BFAs, one in fine arts and one in architecture. In 1976 he
received his master's degree in architecture from Pratt. His work has been
featured in numerous exhibitions worldwide, and has been represented since
1964 by the Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York, where he has had six solo
exhibitions. He has also taught architecture and sculpture for the past 25
years, currently in the department of architecture at Pratt Institute in New