My paintings are about tracking the days of our lives. What we did when, who we saw, wrote to, thought about. Now, more than ever, during this critical time of Covid-19 — this enormous pause in our lives, we count and consider each day.
The envelopes, letters and diaries in these pictures are old and worn. Some have been repeatedly folded, others stashed out of sight for years. Some offer nostalgic reminders of things that no longer exist; others are from bygone friends.
These images represent relationships that were maintained across distances and referential dialogues extending through many years. In these timeworn paper keepsakes, we find loved ones, parents, old friends and our old selves.
As an inquiry into the complexities of our relationships and sense of place, the interplay between what is written and what is left bare, challenges us to think about what we keep and what we cast off. Here, surprisingly, abstraction and narration go together.
My paintings present life not as then versus now, but as an inescapable circle of time and memory. In the picture, Taking Attendance, a booklet records presence and absence — which is another way of saying Are we Here?
Fern T. Apfel has exhibited widely in the Hudson Valley & Capital Region of New York where she lives including the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, SUNY Albany Museum, The Samuel Dorsky Museum, Woodstock Artist Association & Museum, Collar Works Gallery, and in many Mohawk Hudson Regional exhibits, where she is a four-time recipient of a Mohawk Hudson Regional Purchase Award. Apfel has also exhibited in galleries in Hudson, NY, Philadelphia, PA, New Haven, CT and Holyoke, MA.
She is a two-time recipient of the Individual Artists Grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts and studied at The Art Students League of New York and SUNY New Paltz.
Apfel’s work was featured in the September/October 2019 Issue of Art New England Magazine. She is a Fall 2019 finalist for The Hopper Prize and is a 2019 grant winner from the Martha Boschen Porter Fund, a Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.
Her work is in the permanent collections of The Hyde Collection, The Tang Teaching Museum, The Albany Institute of History & Art, State University of NY Albany Museum, The Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon, The Columbia County Historical Society and Museum and The Art Students League of NY.