When artists Susan DeConcini and Léni Paquet-Morante submitted individual proposals for an exhibition, the Arts Council’s gallery committee saw an exciting pairing because of their shared interest in water as a subject matter. Susan’s watercolors on paper explore her interest in the movement and textures of ocean waves and other water surfaces in motion. Painted at a variety of water environments, Leni’s plein-air landscape interpretations inform her studio work.
Together, these artists’ works provide a contemplation of water as both a familiar subject and intriguing metaphor.
[caption id="attachment_28980" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Léni Paquet-Morante
Eddies on a Riverbank, 2020[/caption]
I paint landscapes that prompt a narrative about water as it engages its surrounding embankments, the detritus within it, and the bio-matter growing from it. I am as interested in moving paint around as I am in these narratives and so use dynamic brushwork to drive a contemporary interpretation rather than a portrait of place. Working outdoors in a variety of settings over the last two years has inspired the work that I do in the studio, which tends to be more abstract. Near home, I’ve frequented the Abbott Marshlands in Hamilton, the Raritan Canal, the Dyson Tract, the Sourlands, and Grounds For Sculpture ponds. Traveling for further inspiration, I painted in France for two weeks; went several times to the Bay of Fundy in Canada; discovered Cape Cod and the Pennsylvania Adirondacks; was blown away by New Zealand’s coastlines; and returned to familiar Maryland rivers and hilly forests.
The landscape paintings in Textured Waters reflect my commute through the world as I was drawn to vistas and intimate spaces alike.
– Léni Paquet-Morante
[caption id="attachment_28981" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Susan DeConcini
Aubergine Waves, 2021[/caption]
“I have always had a studio, but never before has it been as necessary a respite as it had since the start of this pandemic. Like many others, I lost my full-time job in the spring of 2020. Suddenly, I was in my studio full time, rapidly creating this group of paintings.
I have primarily chosen my watercolor subjects as a way to learn and understand how to capture physical forms. I love painting in the wild – it captures the mood and energy of a time a moment more than my photographs can. Clouds and water have been the most elusive in these sketches. I started this series in an effort to improve on my waterscapes and clouds.
However, over the past year, my work has become more about accessing the calm in myself. I have always moved through different subjects quickly, and yet lingered on water for the better part of the past two years. The nature of watercolor offers an element of performance – you need to focus on each brushstroke to get it right, and if you make a mistake you either need to integrate it or abandon the whole piece. Painting water helps take away the tension so the calm can seep in. When I am focused on catching the glint of a reflection or the deep color of a wave’s shadow, I am not thinking about the stressors of pandemic life.
The paintings in Textured Waters are part of my continued pursuit to understand the endless forms and expressions that water can take, and to engage my delight in capturing the complexity of a single moment in the shape of a wave.”
– Susan Deconcini
About Léni Paquet-Morante:
Léni Paquet-Morante was born in Canada, raised in Maryland, and moved to New Jersey in 1984. A full-time artist since 2018, her 550 square foot studio is within the Grounds For Sculpture complex. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at Mercer County Community College (2021), Johnson & Johnson Corporate Headquarters (1998 and 2019), Center for Gender Studies at Princeton University (1995 and 2017), Passaic County Community College (1996). Her paintings and sculptures have been included in group shows since 1984. She is listed in the Women Artists of America National Directory and is registered with the Canada Arts Council. See more of Léni’s work on her website and on her Instagram.
About Susan DeConcini:
Susan DeConcini is an artist living in Lambertville, New Jersey. She has primarily worked as a Scenic Artist, painting theatrical sets at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ. Susan has displayed her work at Small World Coffee in Princeton, the Boro Bean in Hopewell, as well as Cobblestone Creek Country Club. She has participated in Garden State Watercolor Society’s 2018 & 2019 Juried shows, as well as the 2020 Member Show. Her waterscapes and cloudscapes were most recently displayed at the Princeton Public Library over the winter of 2019-2020. In June, she joined the Arts Council of Princeton as a featured artist in their In Conversation virtual interviews, as well as participating in the 2020 Sauce for the Goose Art Market and the Princeton Winter Village Artist Chalets. See more of Susan’s work on her website and on her Instagram.