American Beauty Is On Exhibit

By Roberta Carasso
Laguna News Post
December 2000

Candice Eisenfeld titles her current exhibition, at the Marion Meyer Contemporary Art Gallery, "American Beauty." Her paintings convey the essence of American idealism as expressed through the beauty of its landscapes.

For Eisenfeld, the land, in its pristine state, is a metaphor for the troubled thoughts and feelings experienced by a beautiful nation searching for answers. To achieve this daunting task, Eisenfeld depicts multiple images - one, two, or three - on one vertically or horizontally arranged canvas, combining abstraction with realism.

On velvety smooth wood panels, Eisenfeld pieces together the American Dream- the land's pure idealism "with the haze of reality and its perception - that have caused everyone to look a little deeper within, contemplating the bonds that hold us together as a society." By simultaneously working in both realism and abstraction, in different segments of one canvas, Eisenfeld depicts the reality and ambiguity that currently plague Americans that divides each of us as we search to define "what it means to be an American, what it means to be human, and how we relate to each other."

Her spirited paintings express optimism, that "hardship will strengthen these bonds, and that hopes and unity will overcome." "Pages From My Diary" is a personal statement of three images in one. Two virgin, un-peopled idyllic scenes suggest a vast body of water on the left, and an inlet on the right. Painted in muted earth tones of greens browns, and golden oranges, the two scenarios are united by a central strip of transparent white where both landscapes converge. The center vertical area is much like a theatrical scrim, a suggestion of what is taking place behind the scene. This abstracted center is the indefinable existence of the nation, the quality that binds us together. The seascapes represent the familiar, the known. Bonded as one, the known and the ethereal merge in the unique quality that gives America it's strength.

Eisenfeld's luminous color palette is influenced by the Tonalists and Hudson River School- artists who sought to capture the purity of nature at its peak of color. She also takes ideas from the pre-impressionist Barbizon School in France. In particular, Barbizon's focus on changes in weather - just when a storm appears or subsides; the precise moment the sun sets or rises; the inception of a rain shower; the change from a wet to a dry landscape.

In her paintings, Eisenfeld captures the American landscape, its tranquil and moody moments. The artist has devised a unique technique which she came by after several years of research and hard work. It results in a shiny antique quality. Combined with her color palette and the harmony of abstraction and realism, Eisenfeld's paintings evoke a timeless splendor.

Eisenfeld starts with a fine, cabinet-grade birch wood panel, which she meticulously sands and prepares until its surface is impeccably smooth. She covers the wood with a fine archival gesso to create a barrier between the wood and the acrylic paint she now applies. The process includes layers of paint and archival varnishes, and applications of a UV inhibitor- a chemical spray that helps the work resist damage from the sun, weather conations, or just mishandling. Eisenfeld continues this labor- intensive process well into the finished work.

Eisenfeld comes from an artistic family where making art was natural. She studied print making and figure drawing at the University of Texas in Austin and received a BFA. In 1993, she moved to Jerusalem to continue her studies at the prestigious Bezalel Academy of Art and Hebrew University. Now, living in Tempe, Arizona, Eisenfeld exhibits her work in fine galleries throughout the United States.