MARY PARKMAN graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Fine Arts. She continued her study of art—primarily with Abstract Expressionists—at the New York Studio School in Manhattan and the International School of Art in Umbria, Italy. Having begun her career as a representational painter of portraits and landscapes, many done en plein air, Parkman’s work is increasingly abstract, with greater focus on pure paint and process.
“It’s exciting that by shifting to abstraction drawing recedes allowing pure paint to take over and process to show.”
My floral paintings consider the same elements as when painting an abstract painting. I put paint on the canvas and push and pull with the paint: addressing value, color, shape and mark making until I achieve a balance and sense of space that feels complete. Though making a “representational” painting, it is not just about the hydrangeas or peonies—but a more complicated balance of what I see and feel within, in combination of what the viewer sees and feels. This balance is constantly in motion. Underneath the finished painting, there are a myriad of paintings the viewer doesn’t see. All of those buried layers represent equations that were wrestled with before I moved on.
“How do I know when a painting is done? I don’t. I just have to stop.”