First Street Gallery in Chelsea is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by artist Kathi Packer from April 29th through May 24th, 2014.
In her exhibition titled, Bone Dry Silence, artist Kathi Packer creates complex paintings imbued with notions of paradise and impending calamity. Saturated hues exalt nature, specifically Africa’s Sub-Sahara, where one expects life to be wild and lived freely in harmony with the land. Packer contrasts idyllic scenes of animals roaming leafy forests and drinking from pristine pools of water with images that convey a darker apocalyptic threat. This world is imperiled by persistent drought. In tandem, these two perspectives capture moments leading up to an uncertain and unalterable future.
Packer’s narrative is not a literal interpretation of beasts dotting the plains, but a composite of memories, imagination and photos taken while traveling in Africa. A recurring theme of ambiguity weaves these evocative tales together. A wild animal that would normally visit a waterhole, instead, drinks from an industrial container. A boat delivering water is trapped in the absence of water. A wildebeest is as much a prey to a dry riverbed as it is to a lion. No humans are present, only their mark lingers and the hint of imminent catastrophe. Despite sounding the alarm, Packer’s work celebrates this irreplaceable environment. The use of vibrant expressive color adds a surreal dimension to an otherwise weighty subject matter.
Kathi Packer has exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad. Her work is in the permanent collections of The New Britain Museum of American Art, Galeria Nacional de Costa Rica, The University of Connecticut School of Medicine, The Phoenix Corporation and Hartford Hospital. She has received numerous awards for painting as well as fellowship awards from The Connecticut Commission on the Arts and from The Greater Hartford Arts Council. Packer lives and works in Connecticut.