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  • Impossible Blossom: Paintings from The New School Art Collection

    June 24 - September 8, 2016
    Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery
    Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons School of Design

    Curated by Silvia Rocciolo, Eric Stark, and Macushla Robinson
    Photography by Marc Tatti

    From Blossoms

    From blossoms comes
    this brown paper bag of peaches
    we bought from the boy
    at the bend in the road where we turned toward
    signs painted Peaches.
    From laden boughs, from hands,
    from sweet fellowship in the bins,
    comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
    peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
    comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
    O, to take what we love inside,
    to carry within us an orchard, to eat
    not only the skin, but the shade,
    not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
    the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
    the round jubilance of peach.
    There are days we live
    as if death were nowhere
    in the background; from joy
    to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
    from blossom to blossom to
    impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom

    Li-Young Lee

    Poets and painters strive to express the ineffable through color, gesture, beat, and meter. Li Young Lee's poem "From Blossoms" unfolds the experiential to expose the sublime nature of a singular encounter with a dusty fruit of summer. So too can abstract painting reach deep within us, asking for more than what is physically there — not only the skin, but the shade; not only the sugar, but the days.

    Painting is an impossible blossom, sometimes rising like smoke from a chimney, sometimes dropped at the doorstep like a mouse after the cat's nighttime prowl — either way mysterious, life-affirming, and referential. It is cyclical like the seasons, declared dead, only to be reawakened by a new generation of seers wanting to live as if death were nowhere in the background.

    This group of paintings from The New School Art Collection have no particular perspective, nor do they serve to illustrate a point other than the sheer possibility/impossibility of it all. Taken as a whole, however, they reveal the orchard we carry within us and collectively find sweet fellowship in the bin.