The Woodstock Artists Association & Museum is presenting a selection of new drawings by Douglas Navarra
in a solo exhibition titled 'Presence', Saturday, June 16 - Sunday July 15, 2018
The works on view are meticulously crafted interventions on paper using color and geometric abstraction, drawn and painted on historic documents. The visual overlay between old and new, past and present, suggests the metaphor that "history is but a narrative agreed upon".*
Navarra has painted on these vintage paper relics of a long and forgotten past with his own 21st century overlays, thus heightening their social history while their tangible elements still reveal the lives of how people lived over a century ago.. Though it is impossible to know the specific significance of these original paper documents, one can discern the 19th century style and grace in the manner in which these documents were originally conceived, yet memorialized today by the elegance of their gestural style of script.
Because Navarra has refrained from imposing literal pictorial narratives in his works, the gallery spectator is free to engage in his or her own deliberations by reading the verbal language on the original documents, the language of accidental blemishes, stains and tears that come with age, and the carefully considered visual vocabulary of new additions.
The unintended and pre-ordained 'history of circumstance' found on these documents informs us of the decades that have gone by while the new additions bear the analogy of how we choose to converse with our collective history. Style, care, and grace characterize the new painterly additions with abstract visual counterpoints, lending an overall effect of a visual elegance that metaphorically links a lexicon beset by time.
The artist states that the "retrieval from history is intended to portray a remembrance of our lost and forgotten identities, ....my own additions bear a reverence for these changes which subsequently gives shape to the present, and simultaneously differentiates and joins then and now."
*quote from Napoleon Bonaparte