November 3 – 28, 2020
Rains in Africa, oil on panel, 30 x 30 inches
FIRST STREET GALLERY is delighted to announce Kathi Packer’s seventh First Street Gallery solo exhibition, Their/not there, which opens November 3rd until the 28th, 2020. Her latest series of interpretive and expressive oil paintings convey an enduring and deep attachment to the Serengeti.
Their/not there represents a different point of view in Kathi Packer’s work. In these new paintings, she minimizes the central figure of the Zebra and instead emphasizes the landscape. In Olduvai Gorge Packer shifts our attention from barely visible wildlife in a pastoral setting to the cliff’s precarious edge and its cascading geologic forms that explode with color. Her vibrant palette belies a subplot of danger and survival in this challenging environment.
Weather plays a large role in Packer’s new work. A storm seen from miles away, feels ominously close, so close we see the charcoal veins in Packer’s clouds slice through orbits of orange, blue, and yellow in Rains in Africa. We’re looking at and inside rainclouds as if their cells were placed under a microscope. A calmer sky in Zebra at the Mara is saturated with an uncharacteristic green, orange and yellow. We feel the heat but are unsure of the time of day. Underneath, a herd of scarlet zebra masquerade as a rock formation. Sky, landscape and zebra are painted with expressionistic brushstrokes, in similar hues which unify the space and suggest that all are made of one and the same material. In addition to color, she plays with perspective, flattening the space between the foreground and background which underscores the importance of the interrelationship between wildlife and habitat. Added together, Packer’s dreamlike vignettes narrate a story of a unique environment that deserves our care and protection.
Kathi Packer has exhibited within the U.S. and abroad. Her work is collected throughout the United States and abroad, and in permanent collections such as The New Britain Museum of American Art, Galeria Nacional de Costa Rica, The University of Connecticut School of Medicine, The Phoenix Corporation and Hartford Hospital. She has received numerous awards for painting as well as fellowship grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts and from The Greater Hartford Arts Council. Packer’s painting, Stubb’s Curiosity, is prominently featured in the publication Zebra by British authors Christopher Plumb and Samuel Shaw. Her work also appears in Volume 1 and 36 (2018) of Studio Visit Magazine.