Remnants of the past: old stamps, pages of diaries, pieces from well-thumbed books are my subjects. Rummaged from flea markets, garage sales, and used book stores, the text in my pictures can be read as a narrative, an account of events, or a provocation.
By suggesting the symbiotic relationship between our past and our present, my paintings present life not as then vs now, but as an inescapable circle of time and memory and the antithesis of our digital society.
My pictures reexamine the boundaries between language and painting and narrative and abstraction.
I have been working with text for many years, but recently my work with text has taken a new direction. Where I previously collaged the text, in my new pictures the text, stamps, postmarks, etc. are all painted. Previously the text could be read, now it is mostly illegible and where the color was subtle, now it is vivid. Before the pictures were framed under glass, now there is no frame. I believe these changes create an unexpected, yet more intimate experience for the viewer.
I have exhibited widely in the Northern Hudson Valley & Capital Region of New York State where I live and have pictures in the collections of The Hyde Collection, The Tang Teaching Museum, The Albany Institute of History & Art, SUNY Albany Museum, and The Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon, The Columbia County Museum & Library, and The Art Students League of New York.
I am a two-time recipient of the Individual Artists Grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts and Twin Counties Cultural Fund Decentralization Program and studied at The Art Students League of New York with Joseph Hirsch, Julian Levi and Robert Beverly Hale and has a BS in Art Education from SUNY New Paltz.
I have exhibited at the Collar Works Gallery in Troy, NY in shows curated by Cara Manes (MOMA, NY) Alexandra Fords (Mass Moca) and Ian Berry (The Tang); at The Samuel Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz in shows curated by Ian Berry (The Tang) and Livia Straus (Hudson Valley MOCA). I have also exhibited at The Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, NY and The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, and in many Mohawk Hudson Regional exhibits. In addition, my pictures have been exhibited at the Davis Orton and Concepto Galleries in Hudson, NY, won first prize at Laffer Gallery’s (Schuylerville, NY) Upstate Artists and at The Ely Center for Contemporary Art in New Haven, CT.
In 2009, I had the honor of exhibiting alongside Ellsworth Kelly and John Ashbery in The Collage Show at the Spencertown Academy in Spencertown, NY.
Fern T. Apfel
All images copyright FT Apfel 2019