My most recent paintings are about tracking the days of our lives. What we did when, who we saw, wrote to, thought about. Now more than ever, during this enormous pause, we count and consider each day.
An important thing to know about these paintings is that they are not collage. Each letter, envelope, stamp and piece of paper is painted with many layers of acrylic paint. All the writing and fine detail work is done with archival pens.
Most of the letters can be read. They come from different decades and locations, but their content is amazingly and endearingly timeless.
Space and color are key elements in these minimal compositions as the ephemera transform into abstract shapes. Because each letter has its own story, here, surprisingly, abstraction and narration go together.
The letters are old and worn. Some have been repeatedly folded, others stashed out of sight for years. Some offer nostalgic reminders of things that no longer exist; others are from bygone friends. In old letters we find loved ones, parents, old friends, and our old selves.
Today when emails are quickly read and deleted, these paper keepsakes survive.
As the truth of art allows us to take one small thing and make it stand for so much else, these images represent relationships that were maintained across distances and referential dialogues extending through many years.
An old-time box of buttons or a tattered sweater can remind us of a past time. A carefully placed pencil or feather can evoke an elusive and often ambiguous new meaning.
As an inquiry into the complexities of our relationships and sense of place, the interplay between what is written and what is left bare challenges us to think about what we keep and what we cast off.
My paintings present life not as then versus now, but as an inescapable circle of time and memory.
Fern T. Apfel has exhibited widely in the Hudson Valley & Capital Region of New York where she lives including The Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Collar Works Gallery in Troy, Albany Center Gallery and in many Mohawk Hudson Regional exhibits, where she is a four-time recipient of a Mohawk Hudson Regional Purchase Award. In addition, Apfel has exhibited at the Davis Orton and Concepto Galleries in Hudson, NY, The Ely Center for Contemporary Art in New Haven, CT and PULP Gallery in Holyoke, MA.
Apfel’s paintings are in the permanent collections of The Hyde Collection, The Tang Teaching Museum, The Albany Institute of History & Art, SUNY Albany Museum, The Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon, The Columbia County Historical Society and Museum and The Art Students League of NY.
Her work was featured in the Sept-Oct 2019 Issue of Art New England Magazine. She is a Fall 2019 finalist for The Hopper Prize and is a 2019 grant winner from the Martha Boschen Porter Fund, a Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.
Apfel is a two-time recipient of the Individual Artists Grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts and studied at The Art Students League of New York and SUNY New Paltz.
In 2020, Apfel exhibited work at PULP Gallery in Holyoke, MA. and Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. Apfel’s work was included in Fish & Dish: A Fresh Take on Still Life curated by Jason Andrew at the Woodstock Art Association & Museum in Woodstock, NY, First Street Gallery’s 2020 National Juried Exhibition juried by Andrew Arnot, President and Owner of Tibor de Nagy Gallery in NY City, the National Prize Show at the Cambridge, MA Art Association, juried by Sharon Butler, founder of the blogazine, Two Coats of Paint and Making a Way at the South Bend Museum of Art in South Bend, Indiana.
Apfel’s painting, “The Yellow Envelope” won Best in Show at The Art Center for the Capital Region, juried by Ian Berry, The Dayton Director of the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College
Recently, Apfel was featured on WMHT/PBS’s A House for Arts.
Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region, Albany International Airport, Albany, NY
The Vision of Care, Woodstock Art Assoc. & Museum, Juried by Robert Shane, The Brooklyn Rail
One in a Year: Virtual Exhibition, The Painting Center, NY, NY
Holiday Show, Labspace, Hillsdale, NY
Fence & Fence Select – Best in Show
Ian Berry, The Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College, Juror
The Art center of the Capital Region, Troy, NY
Artists of the Mohawk-Hudson Region, Albany Institute of History & Art, Juror: Susan Cross, Head Curator, Mass MoCA, N. Adams, MA
Focus Online: A Different Kind of Now, Woodstock Art Assoc. & Museum, Woodstock, NY, Juror: Douglas Culhane, Artist, Writer, Teacher, Amherst College
South Bend Museum of Art, Making a Way, South Bend, IN
Salem State University, Salem, MA
2020 National Juried Exhibition, First Street Gallery, NY, NY Juried by Andrew Arnot, Tibor de Nagy Gallery
National Prize Show, Cambridge, MA Art Assoc. Juried by Sharon Butler, Two Coats of Paint
Biblio Spectacular, Main Street Arts, Clifton Springs, NY Scott McCarney, Juror
Shown from Afar: Art During the Pandemic, Womenswork.art
So Close, Side x Side Contemporary, Virtual Exhibition
Fish & Dish: A fresh take on still life, Woodstock Art Assoc. & Museum, Woodstock, NY. Curated by Jason Andrew
PULP Gallery, Two Person Exhibition, Holyoke, MA
From the Pages 2, Paradigm Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
About What’s Going On, Hopkinton Center for the Arts, Hopkinton, MA
Second Street Studios, Troy, NY Juried by Thomas Lail & Tara Fracalossi
Made w/ Paper (Not officially titled) Pine Bush Library, Curated by Opalka Gallery, Albany, NY. (Forthcoming)
Paper, The Bowery Gallery, NY, NY (Forthcoming, Sept. 2020)
En Masse, Thompson Giroux Gallery, Chatham, NY
Upstate Invitational, Laffer Gallery, Schuylerville, NY
Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region, The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY, Valerie Palermo, Curator
Albany Center Gallery, 3-Person, Albany, NY
Nine by Nine, PULP Gallery, Holyoke, MA
Ear to the ground: Ely Center for Contemporary Art, New Haven, CT, Julie Torres, Curator
Upstate Artists Juried Show, Laffer Gallery, Schuylerville, NY. Winner: Best in Show
Home: Collar Works Gallery, Troy, NY Cara Manes, MOMA, Curator
Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region, Suny Albany, Jean Shin, Curator. SUNY Albany Alumni Jurors Award
Golden Age of New Paltz Part 3, Wired Gallery, High Falls, NY
Narrative, Concepto Gallery, Hudson, NY
River Flows Both Ways, Hastings-on-Hudson,NY
Collar Works Gallery, Troy, NY Alexandra Foradas, Mass MOCA, Curator
Undercurrents: The river as metaphor, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz, Livia Straus, Hudson Valley MOCA
Fence Select Michael Oatman, Juror, The Arts Center of the Capital Region, Troy, NY
Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region, Hyde Collection Michael Oatman, RPI, Juror
Spencertown Academy Regional, Spencertown, NY Nicole Hayes, Art Omi Juror
Reclamation, Collar Works Gallery, Troy, NY Ian Berry, The Tang, Curator
Recent Acquisitions:The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY
Davis Orton Gallery: Word and Image Solo Exhibition Hudson, NY
Albany Center Gallery Mohawk Hudson Regional Invitational 2016, Albany, NY
The Arkell Museum Juried Art Show, Canajoharie, NY Jeane Flanagan, Juror
Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region 2015, University Art Museum Rachel Uffner, Juror. The Hyde Collection Purchase Prize
Fence Selec, Art Center of the Capital Region Julie Lohnes, Juror
Give & Take: Decentralization Individual Artists Grant Recipients, Catskill, NY
Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region 2014, Albany Institute, Stephen Westfall, Juror. Albany Center Gallery Award in Honor of Les Orbach
Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY
Rock, Paper, Scissors: Contemporary NY State Collage & Assemblage. Greene County Council on the Arts, Catskill, NY
Worlds of Wonder: Hudson Valley Artists 2014, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz, Ian Berry, The Tang, Curator
Small and Seductive: Contemporary Art from the Institute’s Collection. Albany Institute of History and Art, Albany, NY
Out of Print: Winter Art Exhibition Judie Gilmore, Curator. Albany Public Library & Dwight Marvin Library, Hudson Valley Com College, Troy, NY
Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region, The Hyde Collection Dan Cameron, Juror
TYPO: Artists Using the Alphabet as Visual Language. Greene County Council on the Art, Catskill, NY
76th National Midyear, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH
Studio Wall: Solo exhibition. The Art Center for the Capital Region, Troy, NY
75th Annual Artists of the Mohawk-Hudson Region, Albany Institute Holly Hughes, Juror
Hudson River Contemporary: Works on Paper, Boscobel House, Garrison, NY
Eye Rhymes, The Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY
The Imaged Word, Albany International Airport
14th Annual Juried Show, Columbia County Council on the Arts, Hudson, NY. Winner: Best in Show; Janet Riker, Juror
The Collage Show (group exhibition with Ellsworth Kelly & John Ashbery) Spencertown Academy, Spencertown, NY
12th Annual Juried Exhibition, Columbia County Council on the Arts, Hudson, NY. First Prize
The Book Pictures: Solo Exhibiti, The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT
Fern Apfel Inks and Collages: Solo Exhibition. Café Gallery, Old Chatham, NY
Midyear Exhibition: Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH. Clement Greenberg Award
Museum Peace: Reflections on a Collections Solo exhibition. Columbia County Museum, Kinderhook, NY & Hudson Opera House, Hudson, NY
Work: Shaker Design & Recent Art. The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY
Artists of the Mohawk-Hudson Region, Schenectady Museum, Schenectady, NY
Recent Acquisitions: Schenectady Museum
Artists of the Mohawk-Hudson Region University Art Museum, SUNY Albany. Winner: Juror’s Award; Xu Bing, Juror
Purchase Prize: University Art Museum, SUNY Albany
Purchase Prize: Schenectady Museum, Schenectady, NY
Daily Grace: Solo exhibition. The Shaker Museum and Library, Old Chatham, NY
Daily Grace: Solo Exhibition, Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield, MA
Westfield State College, Westfield, MA
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS + PRESS
Fish & Dish: A Fresh Take on Still Life, Art Valley, Art & Culture in the Hudson Valley, April 10, 2020
Fish & Dish: Woodstock Times, Paul Smart, March 5, 2020
Ken Ragsdale at LGAP and Upstate Invitational at Laffer Gallery, dbgetvisual.blogspot.com, November 23, 2019
Dispatches: Stories from Four Gallery Destinations: Art on the Outskirts: Western Mass’s Edgy Scene, Art New England Magazine, September – October 2019: The Gallery Issue, page 42-44
CREATE Magazine, Spring, 2019
Glue Sticks and Growth: Artist and Alumna Fern T. Apfel reflects on inspiration and taking one’s time, TheLittleRebellion.com by Joshua Goberdhan, December 6, 2018
On Exhibit: Artists of the Mohawk Region set at University Art Museum by Indiana Nash, The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, NY December 5, 2018
Invitational Show features often challenging work of four gifted artists by William Jaeger, Times Union, Albany, NY, June 2016
Fern Apfel: Painting, type and ambiguity by Jesse DeGroodt, The Chatham Press, September 2013
Hudson River Contemporary: Works on paper. Catalogue. 2011
Objects of Inspiration by David Brickman, Metroland, September 5-11, 2002
Berry, Ian. Work: Shaker Design & Recent Art. Published by The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY. 2001
Apfel opens windows of the mind, by Maxine Brinkley, The Chatham Courier, May 6, 1993
GRANTS & AWARDS
Awarded The Martha Boschen Porter Fund, A Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation
Finalist, The Hopper Prize (Fall, 2019)
2002 & 1998
Individual Artists Grant. New York Foundation for the Arts and Twin Counties Cultural Fund Decentralization Program
SOS Grant. New York Foundation for the Arts and Rensselaer County Council on the Arts
The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY
The Tang Teaching Museum & Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY
The Albany Institute of History & Art, Albany, NY
University Art Museum, SUNY at Albany, Albany, NY
The Shaker Museum & Library, Old Chatham, NY
The Columbia County Historical Society & Museum, Kinderhook, NY
The Art Students League of New York, New York, NY
Kidder Peabody & Co., New York, NY
The Art Students League of New York, New York, NY
State University of New York at New Paltz