Colleen Blackard

"The Abandoned Series: Returning"

Redbud East Gallery

April 3 - June 1, 2021

Opening Reception

Saturday, April 3, 2021
12pm to 9pm
"Fate", 2014, marker on paper, 48"x 72"

Born and raised in Texas, Colleen has spent the last decade in NYC where she maintained a connection to her roots by depicting a personified abandoned Texan barn in paintings, drawings, and monotypes from her Brooklyn studio. This culminated in an extensive body of work navigating the intricacies of memory and longing for the grandeur of the Texas landscape and all of its defining, dramatic weather patterns. Balancing ethereal beauty and looming disaster, the works mimic an emotional connection and separation from the rural landscape while working in an urban center. Making a return to Texas in the midst of a pandemic, this show is a reflection of the artist’s journey back to one's true self amidst all obstacles.

“'The Abandoned Series' tells the story of Colleen’s struggle with feeling disconnected and abandoned when her sister was born. A lonely old barn in various settings personifies the experience of confusion and resolution as she finds her way to reconnection.” (Julia Moak, "Greenpointers") Even when all hope is dashed by impending waves from a hurricane or a looming F5 tornado, the barn still remains undeterred. Is the barn blissfully ignorant, or confident in its inner light? Ultimately shedding the structure of the barn, the light bursts out and integrates with the landscape.

Blackard’s use of a range of media and signature application methods captures the ability of light to connect humanity’s external and internal landscapes. Given the subdued color palette of each work, differentiation between light originating from the barn and that of the sky is obscured. Nuanced scenes of an event that is either about to take place or just happened emerge. It is precisely this undefined, intangible space that her scenes evoke. Whether in ballpoint pen, archival marker, monotype, or painting, Blackard is constantly challenging the range of atmospheric effects possible using dynamic marks and translucent light on a two-dimensional plane.

The dramatic psychological space in these works mirrors an increasing awareness of the powerful weather events caused by climate change and the strange new normal of returning to Texas in a pandemic.