Lee Essex Doyle: Illuminated Moments
Selections from Venice and Havana
On Exhibition at Childs Gallery Boston
January 19th – March 7th, 2015
Lee Essex Doyle’s latest series of watercolors, Illuminated Moments, reflects the vibrant light of two cities, Venice and Havana. Inspired by the artist’s recent travels, these luminous paintings capture quiet moments of architectural splendor. In Doyle’s deft hands, the muted light of Venetian palazzi and Cuban paladares gives way to a dazzling array of colors and patterns, reflected and refracted through stained glass, metal gates, jewel-like lanterns, and chandeliers.
Doyle’s work is often inspired by her frequent and far-flung travels. Her previous series of paintings include Postcards from India, depicting her impressions of Indian temples and palaces in Rajasthan, and Dreams of Dawnridge (shown at Childs Gallery in 2011), depicting the whimsically baroque California estate of legendary Hollywood designer Tony Duquette.
Doyle first travelled to Venice eight years ago and immediately fell in love with the city. She has returned every year since, getting to know the city even further through her work with the organization Save Venice. Despite her strong ties to the city, this past year was the first time Doyle travelled to Venice with the specific intention of painting the city. Multiple visits to Venice’s museums and private homes, including the Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Ca’ d’Oro, and Palazzo Cini, produced a number of small drawings and color studies to develop upon her return.
Back in her studio, Doyle felt a connection between her Venetian paintings and similar studies she had made during a trip to Cuba two years earlier. She developed the two groups of work together, recognizing a similar palette, patina, and quality of light. The finished mixed media pieces are lush combinations of ink, watercolor, charcoal, colored pencil, tempera, and oil pastels on paper.
Like Doyle’s earlier works, the paintings in Illuminated Moments exhibit a strong sense of place. However here Doyle’s usually vibrant colors - sometimes verging on electric - are more reserved. Taking her cue from the sites themselves, Doyle’s muted palette echoes the hushed
entrance halls and empty passages of the palazzi, the diffused afternoon light filtering in through stained glass windows.
"My work is drawn directly from life and then I move it into my studio, where the art of memory seeps in, along with all of its emotions. It is this relationship that interests me most: the relationship between what is seen and what is felt and remembered.”
Lee Essex Doyle will attend the exhibition’s opening reception at Childs Gallery on Thursday January 22nd, between 6:30 and 8:30pm. The public is welcome to attend.