Solomon's Nectar: Painting by Bethann Parker

Appalachian Narratives: Dreamscapes

By Bethann Parker

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Offered as a type of prayer, this series comes from a devotion of restless searching.

Introduction

In the rural mountains of northeast Appalachia, I tend a homestead rooted in sustainability and hold a painting practice that depicts my country narratives. Working from direct observation, I explore my surroundings through visionary projections that utilize traditional painting methods. Fibrous surfaces turn into earthbound dreamscapes inspired by raw resources found in nature. Wandering figures and animals emerge from thick impasto oil paint, leaving a residue of the wild, domestic, and spiritual scenes that weave my life.

The Cathedral of Pastures, by Bethann Parker
The Cathedral of Pastures
Oil on canvas, 36” x 48” (2021)

Ironing out fresh linen, cooking deer hide glue, and grinding earth pigments are some of the many traditional painting methods that marry both domestic and creative disciplines. Inspired by my mother’s wool embroidery, brushstrokes begin to mirror the craft of needlepoint that was handed down through generational lessons. Supple linens begin to peek through paint as a homage to these textiles, while opaque distemper grounds offer stable drawing foundations. These surfaces contain raw pigment, including Pennsylvania red clay and glue from the hides of animals butchered by my family. Through this harvesting I am able to record the layers of my life in material and steward traditional living and painting practices.

Offered as a type of prayer, this series comes from a devotion of restless searching. Repetitive brushstrokes become a kind of meditation, one that breaks open ground and peels back pastoral veils. Imaginative spaces explore the spatial and temporal dimensions of the human spirit contained within a multilayered ecosystem. Moving through these visceral colors our experiences become saturated with impermanence and the vibrancy of changing seasons. With this, I aim to honor the substances that nourish our places of creation, the ones we sow by our feet, cultivate in hand, and grow all around us.


ARTerrain Gallery by Bethann Parker
Appalachian Narratives: Dreamscapes

Images in this gallery may not be copied or otherwise used without express written consent of the artist. Click image to view in larger size.
 


About the Artist

Bethann ParkerBethann Parker, who lives and works in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, received a BFA and Certificate of Fine Art from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and a Certificate from the Barnes Foundation. She is the recipient of a grant from the Kittredge Fund, the Fred and Naomi Hazel Art Scholarship, and the Richard C. von Hess Travel Scholarship, and was twice awarded a Venture Fund Grant for large project proposals. Her work has been featured in The New York Times and Voice of America.

Find more of Bethann Parker’s work at bethannparker.com.


All images courtesy Bethann Parker.

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