Evolving the visual and thematic motifs she explored in Immersion, her enthusiastically received 2012 exhibition at Callan Contemporary, Adrian Deckbar debuts ten new paintings in TRANSFORMATION. The show's evocative title alludes to the myriad levels of metamorphosis comprising these luminous celebrations of air, land, and water: the transformation of photographic source material into acrylic paintings; the changes in plant life as it cycles from growth to decay; and the dazzling alterations in the appearance of vegetation and clouds as they reflect and refract on the surface of still and rippling water. Working from high-resolution images that she and her husband, photographer Mike Smith, take in the bayous off Lake Maurepas, Deckbar integrates her meticulous photorealist training with a freer, more expressionistic technique. The resulting compositions afford viewers an experience not only of what these wetlands look like, but how it feels to journey into the very heart of nature.
Exhibited in more than 50 solo and group exhibitions around the world, Deckbar's paintings are treasured by private collectors and figure prominently in museum and corporate collections. A native New Orleanian, she has earned prestigious grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation. In her work, viewers intuit a deep respect for the history and materiality of painting. "Brushstrokes are meant to have a voice, a visual language," she says. "When I paint, I'm letting the paint speak."
In many of the new works, Deckbar uses broad horizontal canvases, enveloping the viewer's peripheral vision in tableaux that encompass many layers of imagery. "First, there are the objects on the water and the area surrounding the water. Then there is the water itself, which has a color and a form; there are the reflections on the water; and finally the growth beneath the water." Together, these components create a rich roux of visual information that activates the viewer's imagination. The scenes are serene and contemplative, but they are not placid. With their shimmering light-rays glancing off the enchanted, upside-down world implied by the water's surface, the paintings seem to vibrate with an expectant, electrified pulse. These are primal, mystical places, we sense, in which anything can happen.