The Arts Center at Duck Creek opens its 2019 season with the solo show "Elizabeth Parker: Library Paintings." An Opening Reception takes place on Saturday, May 11, 2019, from 5 to 7 p.m., with the show continuing on view through Sunday, May 26, 2019. The exhibition is open to the public Fridays through Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

Elizabeth Ashton Parker Anderson (1893-1975), professionally known as Elizabeth Parker, was an accomplished painter and advocate for the arts, living and working in Springs in the 1950s. "Library Paintings" presents a selection of works that were recently recovered from the attic of the Springs Library. Parker donated art and objects to the Town of East Hampton as well as her home:  the 168-year-old Ambrose Parsons House on Old Stone Highway.

Parker has a direct connection to the artist John Little (1907-1984), whose barn was restored and now houses the exhibition space of the Arts Center at Duck Creek. In 1957, Little enlisted Parker and Alfonso Ossorio to join in and open the first commercial gallery in East Hampton, NY.

Signa Gallery, then located at 53 Main Street in East Hampton Village (where Firestone Gallery now resides), operated for three years exhibited art by well-known local artists including Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline as well as artists such as Agnes Martin and Philip Guston.

In response to Parker’s work, John Little wrote, “This work is characterized by opposing vibrant color, the form being synonymous with color, form growing out of the color with a totality of light.”

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"Untitled" by Elizabeth Parker. Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 inches. Photo: Jess Frost. Courtesy of The Arts Center at Duck Creek.

"Untitled" by Elizabeth Parker. Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 inches. Photo: Jess Frost. Courtesy of The Arts Center at Duck Creek.

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On the occasion of Parker’s Memorial Exhibition in 1976, artist Alfonso Ossorio reflected, “Elizabeth Parker devoted her life to her art and to a constructive involvement with other people. Especially those in her chosen field of work. Quietly, unobtrusively, undemandingly, she persevered in developing her painting into a body of work filled with gaiety and a sense of the contrasts, calms and tensions of life. She was singularly modest about what she created, so much so that even her friends may well be surprised and delighted with the variety and richness of this exhibition. And for this joyful accomplishment we thank her.”

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"Untitled" by Elizabeth Parker, no date. Oil on canvas, 51 x 41 inches. Courtesy Art Center at Duck Creek.

"Untitled" by Elizabeth Parker, no date. Oil on canvas, 51 x 41 inches. Courtesy Art Center at Duck Creek.

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For the exhibition at Arts Center at Duck Creek, director and curator Jess Frost culled through Parker's paintings in storage to create the inaugural show for 2019.

"These paintings were selected out of the close to 50 works being stored at the Springs Library since Parker’s death," Frost wrote in an email. "By my eye, there were a few somewhat distinct bodies of work, although I cannot be sure as many of the works were not dated. My priority was simply to select the most powerful works that felt cohesive as a group and whose scale worked within the John Little Barn."

"The condition of the paintings factored in to my editing process as well," Frost continued. "There were definitely some works that I did not want to handle more than necessary. I’m thrilled these works are now seeing the light of day and that our collaboration with East Hampton Town continues to grow. This type of exhibition is exactly that makes the Arts Center at Duck Creek so special."

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"Untitled" by Elizabeth Parker, no date. Oil on canvas, 40 x 50 inches, Signed, lower right. Courtesy Art Center at Duck Creek.

"Untitled" by Elizabeth Parker, no date. Oil on canvas, 40 x 50 inches, Signed, lower right. Courtesy Art Center at Duck Creek.

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There are four solo shows planned for 2019 with the season concluding with a group show opening in September. Click here for details.

Frost pointed out that exhibitions were only a part of the offerings the cultural center has in store for the 2019 season. On tap are concert and lecture series that are free to attend. They include two weekends of Jazz programmed by NY Times critic Peter Watrous that are rooted in Abstract Expressionism; Jam Sessions; plus lectures that include the Pollock-Krasner and Study Center Lichtenstein Lecture Series, taking place on Sundays in July and August.

"We are offering free programming for the community, free exhibition space for artists, while attempting to keep a dialogue going about CPF [Community Preservation Fund] and its ongoing efforts to preserve the history and character of East Hampton," Frost offered. "Additionally, we’re proud to be associated with the Springs Library - another wonderful Springs institution that the Town is working to preserve.  I hope this exhibition brings some attention to the preservation of Springs Library as well."

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BASIC FACTS: "Elizabeth Parker: Library Paintings" is on view May 11 to 26, 2019. An Opening Reception takes place on Saturday, May 11, 2019 from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibition is open to the public Fridays through Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For details and a full schedule, visit www.duckcreekarts.org. The Arts Center at Duck Creek is located at 127 Squaw Road, East Hampton, NY 11927.

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