Bunny Pearlman
The Last Leopard – Avoiding Extinction

Curated by:
Bert Yarborough
Exhibition Checklist:
click here to see Checklist PDF

ABOUT THE RETROSPECTIVE

My garden is doing a lot of growing now that the sun is gracing us with its presence. Looking forward to adding a few grown colorful plants before moving my easel out. But I’m excited...My mind is close to seething with ideas for paintings!

– Bunny Pearlman

From the Curator:

“As I write, the country is in the midst of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is impossible to ignore this epidemic as it ravages the population and colors our lives in this “new” world. In spite of this horror, Bunny Pearlman, in her 80’s, and in frail health, continues to engage in the life affirming act of creation: to bring into being by making. For over sixty years, through a myriad of artistic practices, research, travels, triumphs and tragedies she has maintained, what for me and many others, can only be defined as an inspiring spirit. The snippet of correspondence quoted above describes this posture, which manifests itself in this exhibition: The Last Leopard – Avoiding Extinction.

I met Bunny in 1980 and later was fortunate to join her very small stable of artists at the East End Gallery. Arthur Cohen, Kahn and Selesnick and Tabitha Vevers were some of those exhibiting there at that time. Bunny’s passion for art and artists was paramount, for being an artist herself, it fostered a unique collaborative process resulting in engaging and compelling exhibitions.

During this period, I visited the gallery and her nearby apartment on the bay often, to talk and have tea. One of her landscapes is on the wall to my right as I type. “Provincetown 2000” is a small (10” x 8”) view of the harbor, delicately executed with watercolor on a skim coat of plaster over wood. It is a perfect moment in time of light, space and stillness, one that no photograph can duplicate as it was made by eye, hand and heart. This work is rooted in place, as all of her work embodies, whether that be those of actual physical spaces or those works of interior worlds.

It is my intention to capture the moment or moments – which I do by combining different images and fragments of images that suggest non ordinary measures of time and space – bending the natural idea of depth and dimension – of perception…to count the things that count…*

– Bunny Pearlman

Pearlman often works in series and the quotes above are taken, in part, from her statement relating to the ongoing body of work titled, A Time for Counting, which now numbers more than 25 medium sized paintings. These “split-screen” works are part biographical/spiritual travel-log, homage to the beauty of the commonplace and a merging distillation of two genres: landscape and still-life.

These paintings are wonderfully contemporary and prescient, embodying the ongoing extension and transformation of this practices boundaries.

What became apparent to me as I viewed and handled years of work is the range of touch employed: from delicate washes of watercolor and pencil to scratched and carved surfaces of plaster, often with relief elements integrated into the imagery. Her work is “constructed” into being and there is a delight in the viewing of a body of work that is “well felt”. There is a fearlessness with material that matches her vision as she invites the viewer to join her spiritual travels, often creating surfaces that embody the ancient.

The Last Leopard – Avoiding Extinction is more than a metaphorical title for the individual artist speaking to and from, life on this planet: hers, ours, the leopards. This humble, vital and dynamic body of work is also a testimony from the heart, hand and intellect: it is a gift to all of us who seek.”

– Bert Yarborough, Curator

Want to check it out in-person? Book tickets here.

Image: The Last Leopard: Avoiding Extinction, 1999, Arad, Israel, Watercolor on gessoed board, 19” x 28”