Monday, April 20, 2009

REPRINT: "Paintings For The Palate" from the Hardwick Gazette

by David K. Rodgers

HARDWICK — Artist Marie LaPré Grabon has a show of about a dozen works at Claire’s Restaurant, paintings and drawings that at first glance appear to be quite simple but remind us of the sculptor Brancusi’s enjoinder, “We arrive at simplicity in art in spite of ourselves by doing what is fundamental.”
   In her graphic work she makes fine use of the subtle possibilities of charcoal on the slightly textured surface of hand-made papers in varied shades from black to light grays. With graphite, her sparse lines capture the stark contrasts of trees and snow of winter landscapes. Many of the latter works were done this winter when she was home-bound recoveringfrom an operation, and they have a psychological component in addition to the representational.
   In her oils, oil
 pastels and acrylics LePré Grabon creates bold areas of unmixed colors that jostle each other in well balanced compositions. The colors themselves are used in an abstract way, not necessarily that of the “real” objects, much like the artists of the Blue Rider movement and the later German Expressionists of the 1920s. As in her black and white drawings, there are a lot of dynamic visual movements in her compositions. These often lead our eyes to the top of the painting, but with some counterpoint in horizontal and downward pointing forms. These vigorous movements well express the rhythmic energies of nature, the deeper unseen but powerful forces of life.
   LePré Grabon effectively combines the freedom of abstraction with recognizable landscape forms, but still retains something of the spontaneity and delight of children’s art. This is perhaps symbolized by the circle of the sun the young frequently 
put in their drawings and paintings and which is a common motif in her work; a reminder of what we all too often forget, that we are part of an infinite universe. Many of these drawings and paintings are based on local landscapes around Hardwick, where LePré Grabon lives, or are a more general celebration of the beauty of each season in Vermont. And this underlying joyousness (especially in her colors) is reflected in the last sentence of her artist’s statement: “The best part of making art objects is that we, as artists, are doing what we absolutely and passionately love to do.”
   This show of LePré Grabon’s work will continue at Claire’s until the end of May. For more information, go www.marielapré

images- Paintings by Marie LaPré Grabon
above: The Upper Field  Oil on paper  24x36"
right: Field in East Hardwick   Oil on canvas  24x36"
drawing: Study/Gold Brook   Charcoal on paper   18x24"