Charlotte Park Chosen as Eazel's Artist of the Week
August 9, 2019 - Eazel
Charlotte Park’s important contribution to the Abstract Expressionist movement during its early years has recently been acknowledged. Overshadowed by the attention given to the work of her husband, James Brooks, Park kept a low profile over the course of her career, while painting some the strongest and most brilliantly colored canvases of her time. Her art is a strong case against the idea prevalent from the 1950s onward that women were incapable of the muscularity and confidence necessary to be action painters.
Park initially worked in a monochrome palette, which liberated her to focus on form. By the mid-1950s, she reintroduced color into her art, evolving a lyrical style, in which suggestions of the natural world appeared to pulsate with organic life. By the middle of the decade, she was producing larger canvases with complex compositions and charged relationships of color.
Park did not shy away from strong contrasts and bold, forthright shapes. Uniting painting and drawing, she formed a vocabulary featuring clustered loops, black curvilinear forms that both define and liberate, and tensed and sensual anatomical suggestions. Figurative elements seem to taunt and loom in her art, but are either suppressed or diffused.
In the late 1950s, Park explored collage, concurrently with her contemporaries Krasner and Conrad Marca-Relli. For these works, she drew passages of color from her earlier paintings, setting them into new contexts. Later in life, Park was drawn to Piet-Mondrian’s neo-plasticism and created open compositions that conveyed permanence and infinity.
In the 1950s, Park exhibited her work broadly, showing at the Stable Gallery and participating in annuals at the Whitney Museum of American art. In deference to her husband, she withdrew from the art world in the 1960s, only emerging in 1973 when a solo show of her art was held at the Elaine Benson Gallery in Bridgehampton, New York. In the twenty years that followed, She was included in numerous exhibitions on Long Island and in New York City. She was also represented in Seventeen Abstract Artists of East Hampton: The Pollock Years, 1946-1956, held in 1979 at the American Cultural Center of the United States Embassy in Paris. In 2003, Park’s art was featured, along with that of Dan Christensen and Allan Wexler in the exhibition, Three East End Artists, held at the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, in 2003. Park’s work is included in the collections of The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York; The Parrish Museum of Art, Southampton, New York; and the Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia.
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