Connally works most clearly with what we recognize as gestural abstraction, associated with Abstract Expressionism. Connally has focused, however, on a notable subset of such gestural painting, one recognized in the heyday of Action Painting and even cited then to link Abstract Expressionism with vital precedents (e.g. the late Impressionism of Monet, the early abstractions of Kandinsky). Like such precedents, Connally distinguishes herself as, in essence, a landscape painter, albeit one who paints the landscape she feels as much as she paints the one she sees. Indeed, Connally’s stress on sensuous form and color experience through reference to natural phenomena (in particular vegetation and water, normally in motion) places itself squarely in a tradition particular to the American experience. John Marin’s expansive rhapsodies on the local landscape exemplify this tradition, as does Joan Mitchell’s gradual – but ultimately thorough – adoption of landscape qualities and references. This sort of “plein air abstraction” defines Connally’s work, but her particular touch and palette, and her close and vibrant sense of atmosphere, distinguishes it.
Peter Frank, LA Art Critic
About the artist
Connie Connally paints stunning canvases of complex elegance, with imagery that merges harmoniously and nearly completely both representational reference and powerful abstraction. Connally’s poetic colorscapes, with their expressive brushwork, sweeping gestural marks and animated cadence, reflect the artist’s passion for distilling the essence of her observations of nature and situate her work as the vital interplay between memory and imagination. Her palette of organic color and calligraphic brushstroke combine to serve as imprint of the artist’s profound love of being in nature and the desire that her painting reflect both her exterior and interior experience of it.
Citing Joan Mitchell as an important influence on her work, Connally employs exuberant, impassioned colors laid on her canvases in a pictorial strategy that teeters between the action painting of her abstract expressionist forebears and a more refined personal style that modulates the strokes and dabs that comprise her surfaces. Her layers of brushstroke read less as agitated ruptures and more like intuitive, sensual experiences rendered as prismatic atmospheres of color and tone. Rich, multi-layered surfaces of color morph, coalesce and scatter in quietly energetic rhythms that evoke the experience of being surrounded by nature.
Wild By Nature
January 11, 2020 - February 15, 2020
George Billis Gallery
Los Angeles, CA