Adrian Deckbar: The Emotive Qualities of Light, opening reception

Saturday, November 6, 2021 -
2:00pm to 7:00pm

Octavia Art Gallery is pleased to present Adrian Deckbar: The Emotive Qualities of Light. This will be Deckbar’s first solo exhibition at Octavia Art Gallery.

The Emotive Qualities of Light is a rare opportunity to see the range of Adrian Deckbar’s two modalities in one exhibition; her renowned landscape paintings as well as her latest series of cinematic figurative stills. For the past five decades Deckbar has been a photorealist painter who injects emotion and light into her work, regardless of the subject matter. The artist utilizes photography as a starting point to create acrylic and oil paintings, which take on a heightened sense of reality. The undulation of shapes with light raking across the forms, pulsate with life. Vivid colors and jewel tones mix throughout the pieces creating dynamic textures as she combines elements from disparate angles, resulting in paintings that are visually dramatic and mysterious. Deckbar bathes each and every element in shimmering light, which enhances and illuminates their emotional quality.

Deckbar’s photorealist figurative paintings capture a moment in time. Still and stopped, they evoke our curiosity and heighten our awareness of the mysterious. They are staged events depicting human drama, allowing us to only get a glimpse of what is happening. These pieces feel cinematic, comprised of deliberately arranged scenes photographed, then painted, evoking the enigma of a movie still. In this exhibition, Deckbar also explores the primal imagery of her surroundings, both the swamps of Southeast Louisiana and the Ozark Mountains; seeking to achieve the same dramatic effect from nature as she has attained with figures. She searches for strong light, shadow, and drama provided by nature during the “golden hour.” Sparkling forms and shapes of organic matter and water are depicted in a photorealistic technique with a twist.

Deckbar’s paintings contain a depth, liveliness, and a sense of drama that compel us to rethink realism. This exhibition gives us the opportunity to showcase the evolution of Deckbar’s photorealistic paintings and her exploration of the emotive qualities of light beyond the ordinary.

A native of New Orleans, Adrian Deckbar currently splits her time between New Orleans and Leslie, Arkansas. She received her BA from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and her MFA from Tulane University. She also received an MA while studying under renowned photorealist painter Robert Bechtle at San Francisco State University. Deckbar has received grants from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, The Adolph Gottlieb Foundation, The Pollack-Krasner Foundation, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. Her work is in private and corporate collections in the US and abroad including the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Alexandria Museum of Art, the Louisiana Arts and Sciences Museum, and the Hilliard Art Museum.

Deckbar regarded her subjects, figure and landscape alike, with the stark opticality of a new American realism, forthright in its presentation but strenuously devoid of affect…. Finding in the rendition of space the magic of the ineffable. Her world works on her soul - and ours - through her eyes, always promising another small, delicious revelation that at once reifies the endurance of nature.     -Peter Frank, Senior Curator at the Riverside Art Museum, LA

“Collectively, Deckbar’s paintings exist as wondrous slices of the universe that she describes as ‘still frames that become windows which I move through to create an image on a surface that becomes a painting’…Deckbar is a dedicated seeker of knowledge, beauty and truth who uses her camera to observe and a paintbrush to record her findings. And while to her credit her paintings may seem majestic and otherworldly, it is in their ability to evoke sensations of quietude and calm that they become ultimately remarkably grounding.”     -David S. Rubin, Curator of Contemporary Art at the San Antonio Museum of Art

A cinematic complexity that carries contemplation into the realm of myth      -D. Eric Bookhardt, Art Critic

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