"Three Generations/One Town", a three-person exhibition curated by Jenny Dixon. Dixon is Director Emeritus of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, and a seasoned arts and culture advisor. For this exhibition she brings together artists Allison Gildersleeve, Xanda McCagg, and Elizabeth Riggle, all of whom are part of a shared community in Southeastern Connecticut. The women, from three different generations, are all painters whose work takes as its subject matter the woods, marshes, and waterways that make up their everyday surroundings.
“I am very pleased to bring the work by these three women to the fore, and to give them a wider audience,” said Dixon.” Finally women are beginning to get the attention they so need in the artworld and Allison, Xanda, and Elizabeth are more than deserving of this attention. All three of these women are painters in the truest sense of the word, not people that are trying to solve the problems of the world or dealing with social issues. They paint the world that feeds them, and in turn are adding beauty to the world”.
Allison Gildersleeve presents a series that reflects her continuous return to familiar places: wooded areas, secret spaces, and back country roads. With each revisitation, her brightly hued paintings capture something different, something changed. Gildersleeve brings to life her subject matter, depicting these wild places not as inert spaces, but as vessels for growth, for new life. Her thick and overlapping brush strokes and bold use of color capture the chaos, life, and vibrancy of nature as a breathing, mutable entity.
Xanda McCagg creates abstract works that take root in her early interest in figuration and human nature. Featuring a vivid color palette and geometric forms juxtaposed with thick brushstrokes and drips of paint, her works evince a painterly formalism. In many of her paintings nearly recognizable forms emerge from the vibrant shapes and lines that compose the canvas, hinting at universal musings on place and human nature.
Elizabeth Riggle creates both figurative and abstract works, often taking flowers as her subject matter. The works included in Three Generations/One Town all feature a single bouquet of roses painted during a twelve day period when Riggle was off work due to a hand injury. Forced to move away from the drawing and paints she was accustomed to, Riggle managed to work a watercolor brush into her bandaged hand, and to create an in-depth study of a bunch of roses, capturing their slow demise. Stark in their beauty, the roses capture the loneliness of the time, transforming that period of quiet into a monument to a specific moment and sentiment.
Image: Allison Gildersleeve, "The Revelers", 2016, Oil on canvas, diptych, 62 x 112 in.