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Artists explore themes in ‘States of the Union’

Katherine Parker and Leah Jacobson share an improvisational, hands-on approach to confronting and manipulating material. By allowing for accidents and appropriating the unknown, they subject their work to an evolutionary process, coaxing and editing, building and eliminating until the essential, true form emerges. Each piece represents a journey in which both psychological relationships as well as specific artistic decisions are resolved.

The artists diverge in their choice of materials. Leah Jacobson is interested in bending steel into shapes that balance the opposing ideas of mass and fragility. A tenuous, elongated bond often joins two or more forms. The resulting sculptures threaten the viewer’s sense of stability. They are reminiscent of both biological and geological formations as well as of human interpersonal relationships replete with their tensions and fallibilities.

Katherine Parker uses the traditional language of oil painting to explore the passage of time and its eroding, fragmenting effect on memory. She uses many layers of subtle color, incorporating the marks, scrapes, smears and irregularities of the surface into the slowly emerging composition. Remnants of each layer are kept and reworked, adding richness and mystery to the final painting.

In their exhibition “States of Union,” these two artists and longtime friends explore the relationship of their work and their repeated themes of human connectedness versus isolation. The act of art making is in effect the hope of exposing and making whole that which is unknown or half forgotten. By bringing to light these forms, the artists are creating union and connection between themselves and their audience.

Jacobson received her BFA in sculpture from the University of Colorado at Boulder and MFA in sculpture from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She has exhibited widely both here and abroad. A multimedia collaborative performance/installation she co-created debuted at the ARTlantische Tag 199 Festival in Kaiserlautern, Germany. Her sculpture is in various private and public collections in the United States and Germany. Born and raised in Arizona, she was most recently a visiting artist at Lafayette College, in Easton, Penn.

Parker received her BFA in Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., and MFA in painting from Columbia University. She has exhibited in various group and one person shows. Her paintings are in the collections of the Jersey City Museum, the Morris Museum and Rutgers University, all in New Jersey, among others.

On Thursday the Queens College Art Center will host a gallery talk at 5 p.m., followed by an artists’ reception until 8 p.m. The public is invited to these free events.

Gallery hours are Mondays to Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. After May 22, hours are Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The college is closed May 26 and July 4. Starting late June, the college is closed on Fridays.

For more information, call 718-997-3770. For directions to the college, go to Visit the Art Center Web site at

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