MALONE — Artist Madeleine Bialke’s debut solo exhibition, “Identity of Place: Oils by Madeleine Bialke,” opens Friday at the Pouring Light Studios & Gallery in Malone.
She’s not a new face there as she organized last year’s “Migrating Passerines” exhibition for her SUNY Plattsburgh peers.
In May, she graduated with a B.F.A. in Studio Art, which included a double concentration in painting and printmaking, and a minor in art history.
‘IT’S BEEN INTERESTING’
“It’s been liberating and also terrifying trying to stand behind what you do without someone standing behind you and telling you its right or wrong,” said Bialke, who lives in Trumansburg, N.Y.
“It’s been interesting. This body of work delves into abstraction more than I ever did at school. I’m kind of launching into unknown territory by myself. It’s really exciting. Every day is a challenge.”
In current works such as “The Secret,” Bialke shifts between “abstraction and representation in an effort to accurately depict the combined reality, feeling and memory of a place.”
“‘The Secret’ was a big point of departure into more abstraction,” she said. “I think it has a lot of heart. (I’m) trying to capture the feel and memory of a landscape instead of just its physical properties.”
“Untamed” is a large 3-foot-by-4-foot work that has more reds and blues.
“That set the state for the color palette I would use for the subsequent 10 or 11 paintings,” she said.
IN HER OWN WORDS
In “Blurb 1,” she writes:
“The scenes of the Adirondacks in this body of work attempt to express the frustration and clarity present in the process of personal evolution. Each piece wrestles with passages of calm and moments of chaos to evoke internal struggle. Abstraction is used to depict an emotional memory of a place in addition the physical representation of the landscape. I collect reference material from the Lake Champlain area, Lake Placid, and the foothills near Stillwater Reservoir. Each place depicted alludes to instances of self-awareness found when contemplating and confronting nature.”
Weekdays, she paints in a studio she shares with her mother/landscape painter Anne Bialke.
“It’s quite roomy, so it works out,” Bialke said.
There’s no critique exchange going on in the studio.
“We’re just in different spheres.”
‘NOT GETTING GRADES’
Painting out of school has taken some adjustment.
“It’s very interesting,” Bialke said. “It’s harder to understand progress when you’re not getting grades every semester.”
All the works in the show were painted post-SUNY from May until January.
“‘Subside’ that was the first painting I did after my B.F.A. Show, which was also a catalytic moment,” Bialke said.
In “Blurb 2,” she writes:
“The expressive and intuitive properties in painting allow me to seek a harmony between content and process. I examine the complex relationships between chaos and clarity, brutality and grace, and bright and muted hues. The representation of the landscape functions as a structural point of departure for the abstraction of color and shape. Abstraction is used as a vessel to the unknown, the abysmal, and the overwhelming joy of existence that can be found when confronting the vastness of nature — alone. I choose color in the service of memory and mood — not as a document of the physical world — because the idea of a place is more compelling to me than its reality. The subject matter is derived from scenes that evoke a silent power.”
Among Friday’s opening reception attendees will be some of her former professors.
“I’m nervous,” Bialke said. “I’m pretty proud of it. Every time I finish a big body of work, the next day I go in there’s a lot of freedom. New decisions are made right after I finish a body of work. A few paintings I did this week are really different and exciting.”
Email Robin Caudell:email@example.comIF YOU GO WHAT: "Identity of Place: Oils by Madeleine Bialke." WHEN: Opening reception 6 to 9 p.m Friday. The show runs through March 8. WHERE: Pouring Light Studios & Gallery, 432 East Maine St., Malone. PHONE: 481-5150.