My Own Backyard

Frank DePietro, Jeri Eisenberg, David Konigsberg, Allyson Levy, Ragellah Rourke

Opening Reception: June 11, 5-7pm

June 10, 2022 through July 31, 2022

Carrie Haddad Gallery is pleased to present “My Own Backyard”, a group exhibit featuring paintings by David Konigsberg, Ragellah Rourke and Frank DePietro; encaustics by Allyson Levy and photography by Jeri Eisenberg. The exhibit opens Saturday June 11th with a reception for the artists that evening from 5-7pm. All are welcome to attend!
Having rounded the corner on two years since the beginning of the pandemic, many of us still find ourselves with competing conflicts of boundaries – both spatial and mental. The work in this exhibit represents how each artist leans into the stability and predictability of nature we can count on; steadfast mountains, changing seasons, and the dawn of a new day. Simultaneously, they are as motivated and challenged by the spontaneous and often erratic events, encouraged to surrender to what can only be described as inevitable.

David Konigsberg’s paintings reveal the visceral realities of nature. The landscapes that serve as the subject in his most recent work suggest a narrative of reflection and distance with pared down horizon lines, mountain ranges and land masses. Konigsberg explains, “In this, the most isolating era of my life, one aspect has remained unaffected: my penchant for frequent, solitary wandering, whether in the region around me, in coastal New England, or the microenvironments I cultivate in my own backyard. The natural world has long been the backdrop and source of my narratives, and this present body of work is clearly no exception. The paintings in this show were all produced in the past year and a half. Composed of three distinct movements, they derive from both memory and photographic record—and of course the tenor of the moment in a time of profound events and challenging moods.” Particularly noteworthy compositions include “Arrangement”, a grand scale painting of a bouquet of flowers where his fanciful treatment of a red anemone calls to mind French Impressionist Toulouse Latrec. David Konigsberg lives in Hudson, NY with his wife, Peg and has been represented by the gallery since the early 2000s.

Ragellah Rourke’s enlivened and vibrantly colored abstractions are deeply rooted in nature, harmoniously combing grace and chaos in equal measure. With surfaces painted in oil and acrylic, her loose brushwork gives an effect of spontaneity and effortlessness that masks carefully constructed compositions which are, in fact, built up over time. The surrounding woods and flower gardens near her home west of the Hudson River inform her palettes and luminous backgrounds. Occupying an ethereal space, Rourke depicts fragments of a world inaccessible to us through experience, but in which we nonetheless believe. Ragellah Rourke attended the University at Albany and has lived and worked for the past twenty years with her family in East Berne, NY. Her work has been shown in galleries on both coasts and first exhibited with Carrie Haddad Gallery in 2002.

Frank DePietro captures the lotus plant in hyperrealist detail while striking the perfect balance of light transparencies. The lush green plants portrayed in various stages, from pod to full bloom, are situated in close view against an opaque sky blue or grey background. In his observation of nature, the artist uses techniques of photo-realism, color field and hard-edge painting to display “cycles of decay and regeneration”. The universal familiarity with this leafy plant allows us to appreciate the artist’s high level of skill as he scales up even the tiniest of details. DePietro received his BFA from Bloomsburg University in 1997, where he majored in Painting and Ceramics with a minor in Art History. He later earned an Art Education degree and went on to teach at several museums, art centers and schools around Philadelphia. The artist now lives in Chester County, PA where he continues to paint and teach at the Delaware Art Museum and Longwood Gardens.

After relocating to upstate New York more than 20 years ago, Allyson Levy’s life mission became informed by her interaction with the plant kingdom. Today, she and her husband manage a level II arboretum, Hortus Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, specializing in rare plants from around the world. The goal is for their gardens to serve as a “Living Textbook” of the diversity of life that can be grown in the Hudson Valley. The benefit of her environmental commitments is two-fold as plants also take center stage in her own artwork. Seeds and other organic materials are carefully collected and given new life, gently assembled and collaged onto wood panel surfaces coated in melted beeswax. The most recent work titled Seed Sampler #1 is an amalgamation of seeds and leaves from various plants that the artist feels serves as a capsule for preservation and can be used to “re-germinate” the planet one day.

Jeri Eisenberg works primarily with non-traditional and alternative photo-based techniques. She employs a strong sense of materiality and seductive surfaces in her work to evoke sense memories and visceral connections. In a new series called “Seeking Stasis”, the imagery begins with the slow-reacting camera-less photographic process called wet cyanotypes. The addition of moisture, salts, and extended exposure to the sun cause unpredictable corruptions in the development process, leaving interesting marks and colorations akin to watercolor. The quintessential shades of blue combine with acid tones of green and yellow that are explosive and mysterious. The loss of control inherent in the process resonated for the artist during this time of Covid, especially as she tried to recover from long-haul symptoms, and regain her own sense of equilibrium. Eisenberg exhibits internationally and is included in prestigious collections such as the Museum of Fine Artist is Houston, Texas and the Albany Institute of History and Art in Albany, New York.

Allyson Levy

David Konigsberg

Frank DePietro

Jeri Eisenberg

Ragellah Rourke