The envelopes and letters in my paintings 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.
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. In old letters we find loved ones, parents, old friends, and our old selves.
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. This visual as well as psychological friction nudges at the boundaries between language, narrative and abstraction.
Suggesting the symbiotic relationship between our past and our present, these paintings present life not as then versus now, but as an inescapable circle of time and memory. These paper keepsakes are the antithesis of our digital society.
Fern T. Apfel has exhibited widely in the Hudson Valley & Capital Region of New York where she lives. Her work has been exhibited at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Collar Works Gallery in Troy, Albany Center Gallery, The Samuel Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz, Woodstock Artist Association & Museum 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 work is 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.
She 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.
Apfel’s work is 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’s work can be seen in the 2019 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region at the Hyde Collection and at The Laffer Gallery (November 2019) in Schuylersville, NY.
Fern T. Apfel
All images copyright FT Apfel 2019