“There Are Flashes of Imagery”
Catherine Copeland – Parallel Narratives at Gitana Rosa Gallery, Piermont, NY
Review by Peter Bonner
My family and I visited Piermont, NY last weekend, a surprisingly short 11 minute drive along the Palisades Parkway from the George Washington Bridge, to meet friends for lunch and call in to see Gitana Rosa Gallery’s new digs. We were greeted warmly by the gallery’s owner and founder, Vanessa Liberati, and her current exhibition of works by the New Jersey artist Catherine Copeland, aptly titled Parallel Narratives.
I was rewarded handsomely for our visit as Copeland’s paintings began to seduce me and reveal their secrets. The paintings are made up of two juxtaposed rectangles, one showing a window, the other seemingly abstract. But as time passed and I looked more closely, I noticed in the abstractions flashes of imagery, shifting and fleeting, that seemed at odds with the serenity of the window. Questions come to mind: “Did I just see that?” “Did that just actually happen?” I turn back in disbelief but I’m unable to pin it down. Obscured by patterns; some paintings include references to tie dye, others to tartan, in another I sense the color and texture of worn-out sofas, and in another still I’m reminded of fresh summer prints. One, tellingly, evokes shadows on ceilings late at night.
The imagery is allusive but powerfully there, a coming together of the parts of a New Jersey girl’s life. The part that we are allowed to see, what we usually see, the public part, is represented by the window, feeling joyful, hopeful, respectable, full of light and resolved, even accepting of one’s “place.” The other part, represented by the abstract rectangle, is the part that’s normally kept private, hidden, and it reveals something more fantastical, seedy, and erotic.
We rarely get to see such a juxtaposition, certainly not so publicly. When we do—as we have recently in the cases where public officials have been embarrassed and humiliated—it has dire consequences. Usually, each of us deals with this dichotomy in our own way. There are some that acknowledge and confront, there are others that hide, conceal, or completely avoid. Copeland has decided to own it, by challenging herself to understand how they fit together, visually, by drawing on her own experiences, and we can all see the results at Gitana Rosa Gallery, 458 Piermont Avenue, Piermont, NY through May 28th, 2017. For more information: http://www.gitanarosa.com; 845-613-7377. Open Thursday-Saturday, 11-6 and Sunday, 12-5, and by appointment.