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The New School Art Collection

Exhibition Text

From Blossoms

From blossoms comes 
this brown paper bag of peaches 
we bought from the boy 
at the bend in the road where we turned toward 
signs painted Peaches. 
From laden boughs, from hands, 
from sweet fellowship in the bins, 
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent 
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all, 
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat. 
O, to take what we love inside, 
to carry within us an orchard, to eat 
not only the skin, but the shade, 
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold 
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into 
the round jubilance of peach. 
There are days we live 
as if death were nowhere 
in the background; from joy 
to joy to joy, from wing to wing, 
from blossom to blossom to 
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom

Li-Young Lee

Poets and painters strive to express the ineffable through color, gesture, beat, and meter. Li Young Lee's poem, From Blossoms, unfolds the experiential to expose the sublime nature of a singular encounter with a dusty fruit of summer. So too can abstract painting reach deep within us, asking for more than what is physically there ­not only the skin, but the shade, not only the sugar, but the days.

Painting is an impossible blossom, sometimes rising like smoke from a chimney, sometimes dropped at the doorstep like a mouse after the cat's nighttime prowl either way mysterious, life-affirming, and referential. It is cyclical like the seasons, declared dead, only to be reawakened by a new generation of seers wanting to live as if death were nowhere in the background.

This group of paintings from The New School Art Collection has no particular perspective, nor does it serve to illustrate a point other than the sheer possibility/impossibility of it all. Taken as a whole, however, they reveal the orchard we carry within us and collectively find sweet fellowship in the bin.

June 24 - September 8, 2016 
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery 
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons The New School for Design 

Curated by Silvia Rocciolo, Eric Stark and Macushla Robinson 
Photography by Marc Tatti