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Lisa di Stefano and George Marks
Gallery Jatad, Houston, Texas
Recommendation by Donna Tennant


Lisa di Stefano, "St. Francisville, Louisiana Fall," 2015, mixed media on gessoed board, 12 x 16 x 2"

Continuing through September 26, 2015

Both Lisa di Stefano and George Marks are inspired by the landscape around Arnaudville, a small town in Louisiana. Located just north of Lafayette at the junction of Teche and Fuselier bayous, it is sometimes referred to as “the place where Cajun began.” Wide open prairies of native grasses meet vast cloud-filled skies, and trees line the horizon, all of which serve as subject matter for these two Louisiana natives.

Di Stefano creates abstracted landscapes in which trees and marsh grasses slope down to meet meandering bayous. Three paintings depict the Arnaudville landscape, while two others reference St. Francisville, located along the Mississippi River north of Baton Rouge. “Cluster of Trees, Arnaudville, Louisiana” is a triptych of horizontal paintings that reflect the wide horizon and focus on loosely painted clusters of green and brown trees that blend together and cast long shadows. “Atchafalaya Swamp, Summer” is a study of pale blue sky and water framed by clusters of trees.

Marks’ relationship with the landscape is reflected in mixed-media paintings of cloud-filled skies. “Ciel Fragmente — Degrees of Separation” was inspired by clouds seen in his rear-view mirror while driving. When he came across vintage bread pans from a Louisiana bakery, he created a series of small cloud paintings and placed them inside the pans. The ethereal paintings framed by the metal rims of the pans result in an extraordinary three-dimensional wall piece. Nearby, a series of long narrow paintings entitled “Panoramic Sky” came about when Marks was commissioned to do a painting for an unusual space. He came up with the format and liked it so much that he has done dozens of them since. Any number of sky paintings can be mixed and matched and stacked horizontally on the wall. Both artists’ paintings are shown alongside antique African textiles and utilitarian objects, creating an intriguing juxtaposition of old and new. The muted landscapes work well with the colorful textiles and dark, carved-wooden objects. All of the pieces reflect a strong connection between the creators and their south Louisiana home territory.


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