CAPTURING THE SPIRIT OF FAMILY
Laguna Beach - At the Marion Meyer Contemporary Art Gallery, Candice Eisenfeld is inspired by how, in every home, there is often a wall of photographs of family members. This led her to consider the theme of Family Tree. However, the artist turns the tables and makes the family, not into human beings, but into acrylic landscapes, thus, the title "Family Landscapes". In some cases, she created the same or similar landscape in other paintings to convey the presence of a family DNA.
Eisenfeld partitions her imagery, vertically or horizontally, or both- forming diptychs and triptychs- which enables her to incorporate different types of landscapes and time periods within the scope of one painting. Contrasting a detailed landscape with an abstraction, or presenting multiple landscapes, she connects one scene with another, much like finding a likeness within generational family members. The richness of multiple images, their dreamy and mystical presence, provides the viewer with a greater sense of the beauty for appreciating the theme of Family Landscapes.
Eisenfeld's work is about narratives and metaphors. The narratives are the stories her imagery conveys, in this case, landscapes conjured in each viewer's imagination. The metaphors are her allusions, in this exhibition, to a family tree. Although the landscapes are either invented or are either invented or are taken from photographs, Eisenfeld is never interested in capturing accuracy or a historical depiction. Rather, she creates a sense of a place where an image evokes memories and shows the passage of time. She does, however, reference landscapes found in Old Dutch Masters or Chinese paintings. In this body of work, many of the landscapes are based on the American Hudson River School. This artistic period allows Eisenfeld to show the time from then to now in a beautifully romantic manner.
To emphasize the idea of family tree, Eisnefeld creates the series as if she imagines a viewer would walk into the gallery and encounter a conglomeration of family photos. Thus, her titles celebrate mothers, or fathers, sisters, or elders. One title is "Song of the Matriarch." Another is "Father's Song." One of her inspirations was an elderly aunt and cousin who had explained family stories, handing down family history in an oral tradition, and telling how each generation contributed to the family. One of the paintings, entitled "First Generation," is Eisenfeld attempting to go back as far as possible and conceive how the first generation of a family would be like.
Eisenfeld uses acrylic paint and acrylic varnish on birch panel. The process is very difficult, taking several months as she first primes the wood, builds up the surface with gesso and sands it down many times to prevent warping. The necessary process is tedious, but particularly important in the dry climate of Arizona where Eisenfeld lives. Besides the physical work in preparing each painting, Eisenfeld spends time writing about the art. As her literary ideas flow, she also cultivates the necessary visual juices that go into each of her paintings.
Many artists have their own style and, no matter which gallery they exhibit in, they include similar work. Eisenfeld is different; she conceives a new theme and a new work for each exhibition. When she exhibits at the Larsen Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ., or at the Julie Nester Gallery in Park City, UT., she shows work conceived just for the particular gallery. Presently, she is working on a series, "Oracles," for a forthcoming exhibition in Scottsdale. The present show, "Family Landscapes," is a body of work created just for Laguna Beach. In addition to exhibiting her work in several galleries in the U.S., Eisenfeld is part of the Art in Embassies Program, showing her work internationally. Her art had hung in Minsk at the Belarus Embassy of the Former Soviet Union, and in the Nambia Embassy at Windhoek.
November 23, 2006