Paul Thiebaud Gallery is pleased to present the paintings of the Philadelphia-based painter, Celia Reisman. This show marks her debut at the gallery’s space in Manhattan. On view from March 3 through April 30, Celia Reisman: Paintings highlights her recent oil on canvas compositions which continue the exploration of suburban landscapes. They transform the quotidian out-of-doors scenes around Reisman’s residences into a non-conforming world of shape and color.
Reisman takes her inspiration from the overlooked and the ordinary. These scenes of green lawns, traditional houses and wooden gates develop from direct observation and preparatory recording, memory and Reisman’s fascination with geometry and structure. They result in medium to large-scale paintings patchworked of almost flattened areas of color. Although rooted in places the artist herself has inhabited or visited — her Merion, Pennsylvania home; Taos, New Mexico; and Vermont — her renderings are not naturalistic; instead, they balance between realism and a dream-like world conceived in the mind of the artist. Distinguished by otherworldly light; unreal, lush hues, and an off-centered perspective, Reisman’s neighborhoods and scenes take on a curious personality – one oddly quiet and devoid of figures though the human presence is tangible. This mysterious emptiness allows viewers to enter an illusionary space and invites the viewer’s own narrative development.
Stylistically, Reisman’s paintings offer similarities to the intense color and flattened perspective of the Nabis artists, in particular to Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard, while the sharp edges of her forms and planar effects recall Japanese woodblock prints. In turn, the depicted architecture becomes abstracted, flat shapes of color rather than mere representation. This treatment is also seen in Reisman’s small oil on silk paintings mounted on panel, also on view. Quiet, contemplative still life arrangements along with subtle interior scenes offer intimate, discrete scenes—counterpoints to the bold paintings of landscapes.
Reisman received a BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University (1978) and an MFA from Yale School of Art (1971). She was the recipient of the prestigious Hassam, Speicher, Betts, and Symons Fund Purchase award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2009. She long served as Assistant Professor of Art at Swarthmore College, and is currently a Visiting Critic at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia. Reisman resides in Merion, Pennsylvania.