“I am drawn to subjects that I don’t fully understand visually, that are mysterious, elusive, and at times almost impossible to see clearly.”
- Christine Lafuente
In Subtones in Springtime, Christine Lafuente explores the parallels between color and musical form in her newest series of paintings. The overlapping terminology between art and music helps to illuminate comparisons between the two fields. Lafuente says , “I begin to transpose visual experience into an imaginary painting experience… like a musician who reads music with the playing of a specific instrument in mind, this kind of looking is experienced in the language of oil color, brushwork, and flatness.” Likewise, Lafuente focuses on the relevance of subtones, which she likens to subconscious presence, or emotional states that can be captured and embedded within her works.
Architectural elements are also expressed through Lafuente’s visual vocabulary. Seascapes and cityscapes are re-imagined on an intimate scale as tablescapes populated with various objects and flowers. When composing a tableau, Lafuente says, “I’m very interested in ‘melodies’ of color that move across a larger color field or key”, and “I tend not to rearrange, but just play the notes I’ve given myself”.
Drawn to islands from an early age, Lafuente enjoys featuring the shorelines and rocky, coastal scenes of New York harbors and Maine. Influenced by atmospheric painters such as Turner and Corot, Lafuente employs a variety of techniques to “tune in to the visual experience”, such as premixing large color relationships in a scene before committing to a composition. This allows her paint handling to be intentional and direct. Natural forms begin to emerge from within a dreamy ambiance and light is either obscured or accentuated by surrounding moisture.
Lafuente harmonizes these color relationships in chords across the surface of her still life and landscape works. She paints with heavy, luscious strokes that are applied with confidence and allure. Pink, purple, and red flowers dot the center of a work like notes on a staff, while rhythmic bands of hazy blues draw the eye into a foggy atmosphere. Deeper, darker tones become the bass notes that support the joyous trills of her signature, bright pastels. Playfully balancing color and light with the surrounding space, these directed compositions can be read as both an abstract design and a representational narrative.
Lafuente delights in the process of her creative experience. Her expanded intuitive approach and technical knowledge are conveyed to us through her beautiful paintings. Her “records” are not only pleasurable, but also provide the opportunity for a contemplative return.
Christine Lafuente is a renowned painter and teacher who is represented by Gross McCleaf, Somerville Manning, Morpeth Contemporary and others in Maine and New York. She has exhibited her work in over 40 solo exhibitions across the region. Her work is in public collections including Princeton University, College of William and Mary, ARCO Chemical Company, and Cigna Insurance Company of North America.
She has received awards for her work including the Howard A. and Gail F. Schaevitz Foundation Grant, the Sketch Club Medal for Achievement in the Visual Arts, The Adolf and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant, and many others. She holds an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College, an M.F.A. from Brooklyn College and a Certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
May 3 - 27, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 6, 1 - 4 pm