Each painting begins with an imagined color. I love the process of mixing paint, finding a suitable contrast or complement, as one color leads to the next. Rhythmically repetitive brush strokes layer the colors. My gestures can be playful, infusing the canvas with flecks, strokes, or threads of color. The process is purposely slow, observing how colors create distinctive illusions at distances.
Elizabeth Palay's first show at the Soho Center for Visual Artists takes the idea of the landscape a step further. Palay’s lyrical expressionistic large abstract oils are based on the repetition of even brush strokes that flow in a vertical motion. Colors overlap each other until they leave just a hairline underneath. The values are so close, subdued and sensitive that at first glance some paintings look monochromatic. At a certain point of the instinctive process, areas of hues gather into horizontal free shapes that interplay with the direction of the brush strokes, and the imagery starts to unfold and vibrate quietly. There is a sense of tension and desire for freedom, and the space differs according to the way the shapes emerge into each other. The softer they are the more one is reminded of the melancholic distant view in a foggy rainy day. The continuation of the imagery beyond the limits of the canvas carries a romantic notion that is the essence of Palay’s work.
Sassona Sakel, Artspeak New York, NY, 1981