The Berry Campbell Gallery in Chelsea presents “Charlotte Park: Works on Paper from the 1950s,” a collection of work by the critically acclaimed abstract expressionist artist.
A contemporary and close friend of Jackson Pollack and Lee Krasner, Charlotte Park studied at the Yale School of Art. She graduated in 1939 but didn’t begin her artistic career until after the end of World War II. Park started experimenting with the form by painting variations of geometric shapes that she outlined in black, white, and gray, connecting them like pieces of a puzzle.
One of the works, “Untitled (Black & Grey III),” is filled with light brown color that consumes most of the piece as it engages with the black. What appears to be the focal point of the paintings is a depiction of a figure with the body of a human child and the head of a lion cub. The young creature appears innocent and childlike as he stands slightly sideways with his head tilted as he looks at the viewer as though he’s lost, worried, and looking for help. Thin black brushstrokes form his mouth; his expression is sorrowful, with black paint streaming from the eyes. In his arms that are raised out slightly to the side, he holds a stuffed animal that resembles a giraffe.
WHAT: Charlotte Park: Works on Paper from the 1950s
WHEN: March 17 through April 23, 2022
WHERE: Berry Campbell Gallery, 530 West 24th St, NYC. The gallery is open Tue.—Sat. from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
By the middle of the 1950s, Park began using a wide range of colors: bright and bold, pastel, and dark. One of Park’s color paintings is a joyous blend of many colors and unusual variously seized shapes that she combines in perfect harmony. The dominant colors are red-orange, white, and forest green. The red-orange is presented in a form that resembles a large bird with bulky feathers sticking up its chest. Near the center of the painting is a cluster of light pink that closely resembles the shape of a rose. The other colors in the painting are dandelion yellow, periwinkle blue, sky blue, and violet purple.
Another one of Park’s color paintings seems to be an image of a large four-legged animal on the prowl. It’s hard to say precisely what kind of animal it is, and perhaps it is a product of Park’s imagination. The animal’s body comprises a dynamic array of shapes and colors, including purple, red, white, and pink. The head resembles a hippo and is depicted in a rose-colored pink met with a curvy yellow-orange shape of the nose and mouth.
Charlotte Park’s work received its deserved recognition only recently— within the past decade or so. She was married to the more well-known Abstract Expressionist artist James Brooks who inspired and supported her work. The two lived and worked most of their lives on the East End of Long Island.