Carolyn Livingston, Untitled, 2020, Oil on Linen, H 44" x W 43 1/2"
February 20 – March 28, 2020
Opening reception: Thursday February 20, 6 - 8 pm
Pari Nadimi Gallery is pleased to present Carolyn Livingston’s solo exhibition curated by E.C. Woodley.
Carolyn Livingston’s exhibition with Pari Nadimi Gallery unites two groups of oil paintings that continue her exploration of the human figure in pairs or in isolation. When she depicts two figures in an embrace, the theme of mother and child is invoked even when the gender or age of the figures is not fixed or clear. These embraces speak of the tenderness found in physical connection and suggest spiritually nourishing, life-giving intimacy.
Livingston’s pictorial language often takes up classical art, as if her paintings were Renaissance studies or sketches. And yet by combining feeling and fact, appearance and disappearance, the ethereal and the carnal, and the interiority of memory, she is on solidly contemporary ground. In their semi-androgyny, these figures embody something of originary experience prior to, or underlying, gender. In the womb, at least for a time, we are before gender. In an embrace in the world long after the womb, this might be true again, if only for a moment or two.
Her pictorial language suggests humanist concerns which dignify the human condition, and yet, unlike the work produced in the Renaissance, her figures are submerged in states greater than their own individuality and which are central to their humanity. When Livingston’s existential concerns are expressed as two mature bodies merging without clearly drawn limits, these works often remind us of the Canadian painter Graham Coughtry’s Two Figure Series of the early and mid 1960’s. But here, importantly, Coughtry’s thick and weighted abandon of impasto has been replaced with a process of thinning and sanding, bringing the figures toward a profound weightlessness of the quieted self.
Carolyn Livingston is a Toronto-based artist who studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (A.O.C.A Honours). She has exhibited at the Pari Nadimi Gallery, Propeller Gallery, Bau-Xi Gallery, Hiroshima International Peace Exhibition and the OCADU Gallery among others. Her works are held in private and corporate collections in Canada, the U.K, and the U.S.A. She has been awarded the Arts Foundation of Greater Toronto “Protégé Honours Award,” selected by Peter Hernndorf (recipient of the Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award), a W.O. Forsyth Scholarship and a Margaret Maude Phillips Women’s Art Association Scholarship. Her work has been widely covered in the media including the Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, City TV, Bravo Television (1996, 1999, 2000, 2002), Bravo Arts and Mind Artist Profile (2007), O, The Oprah Magazine, Via Magazine, Lola, Flare, and TV Ontario.