September 2021 Art Exhibit
LEA CARMICHAEL: Forty Years of Abstraction
On View in the Martucci Gallery at the Irvington Library
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. – Pablo Picasso
This is a retrospective exhibition of abstract works that I have made over the past forty years.
In 1980, age 25, I was living in Madrid, painting still lifes and teaching English. One day I happened into a children’s art exhibition. It blew me away. Walking from piece to piece it came to me that many of these works were pure creativity. That is, the children who made them were working from pure intuition, without calculation or intellectualizing. The work was spontaneous, fresh, and spoke for itself. That show inspired me to let go, to try to access my spirit, free from thinking it out.
In the years since, I have explored many media and genres, from pastel landscape and still life to hand-colored photography to theater set-painting to book illustration(“The Migraine Book”). All along I have found myself drawn to abstraction, in my sketchbooks and other media, but always on the side. About four years ago I decided to dive headlong into abstraction. I have been working at it, and loving it, ever since.
What Picasso implied but did not say, in the quotation above is the role that experience plays in making an artist. Whether school- or self-taught, a lot of hours of practice go into making art with ease, into being able to turn work over to intuition.
When the hand has experienced hours and hours and hours of work, the mind can let go, and the spirit can take over. Then one can look at an empty page and simply wonder, “What happens here?”. One makes a mark, and then asks, “What comes next?” At its best comes that state that athletes call “flow”. The spirit is accessed. The work happens.
Of course, it is not all flow. There are a lot of bumps along the way, much gets tossed into the recycle bin. I like to think of those challenging times as composting, setting up the good soil for future work.
I use the date a work was finished as its title. This is a way to sidestep using a narrative title, one that would suggest any additional images to the viewer. I want the work itself to be absorbed without the distraction of a title.
Images of all of the works in this exhibition, as well as information and pricing, may be found at my website: LEACARMICHAEL.COM.
Exhibit is Located in the Martucci Gallery of the Irvington Library (12 South Astor St, Irvington, NY)
The library strongly encourages local artists to apply for exhibit space.
If you are interested in having a reception, you will need to contact Rosemarie Gatzek directly to schedule a date and time.
Attention non-profit groups
Our program room is available to non-profit community-based organizations for special programs. Rental fees, security deposits and proof of insurance are required. Read our Program Room Policy by clicking here. Download an application for use of the Program Room here. For more information call
Rosemarie Gatzek, the Library’s Director, at (914) 591-7840.