Catherine B. Parker (1926-2012), Main Street, Rain at Dusk I, 2010; Gouache and charcoal on paper, 22 ½ x 30 inches; Gift of John and Carol Kociela

Catherine B. Parker (1926-2012), Main Street, Rain at Dusk I, 2010; Gouache and charcoal on paper, 22 ½ x 30 inches; Gift of John and Carol Kociela

Catherine B. Parker's Main Street, Rain at Dusk I by Nancy Weekly

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In an artist’s statement for the exhibition Suzann Phelan Denny, Catherine Parker: Here and There, held at Meibohm Fine Arts in East Aurora, NY (September 17 – October 16, 2010), Catherine Burchfield Parker shared her philosophy and an inspirational poem by Walt Whitman:

In my work, the images come from the natural world, but my inspiration comes from words and music. For this series, I chose to paint my idea of the city at night, in the rain. I wandered out, many times, just at dusk, and was intrigued by the reflections, the colors, the shapes. The edges of the buildings can seem to dissolve in the rain, and the reflections become more prominent than the subject. This is what I have tried to communicate in this series of works.

And who art thou? said I to the soft-falling shower,
Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here translated:
I am the Poem of Earth, said the voice of the rain,
Eternal I rise impalpable out of the land and the bottomless sea,
Upward to heaven, whence, vaguely form’d, altogether changed, and yet the same,
I descent to lave the drouths, atomies, dust-layers of the globe,
And all that in them without me were seeds only, latent, unborn;
And forever, by day and night, I give back life to my own origin, and make pure and beautify it;
(For song, issuing from its birth-place, after fulfillment, wandering,
Reck’d or unreck’d, duly with love returns.)

— Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

The Burchfield Penney Art Center has a range of works representing Parker’s career. Although she traveled around the globe, Parker likely painted this abstracted cityscape from impressions of her home town of Buffalo. It is among one of the artist’s last series of paintings. Sadly, Catherine Parker passed away on November 6, 2012 at the age of 85. Main Street, Rain at Dusk I (2010) is a recent museum acquisition.

Nancy Weekly
Head of Collections and the Charles Cary Rumsey Curator

Email Nancy at weeklyns@buffalostate.edu.

 

Nancy Weekly is the Head of Collections and the Charles Cary Rumsey Curator for the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the world’s only museum dedicated to American watercolor master Charles E. Burchfield and artists of the Buffalo Niagara region. She also serves as an adjunct lecturer in Museum Studies for the Department of History and Social Studies Education at Buffalo State College.

 

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