FLORENCE NEAL - Re-Surfacing_Salena Gallery








..public art


..exhibitions /


all images © Florence Neal


Prints & Drawings:
Tree Works in Four Parts

October 1 - 31, 2014
Opening Reception: Wednesday, October 1, 6-8pm

L.I.U. Brooklyn, 1 University Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11201
HOURS: Monday - Friday, 9am - 6pm / Saturday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm

The Trees

THE TREES, 12 Trees, 48 found-charcoal rubbing drawings, 35" x 23" each.
Tree Locations: Alabama, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Brazil, Canada, Italy, Spain and Japan


RUNES - Charcoal rubbing drawings and photographs of the Lodgepole Pines affected by the pine beetle in the Banff National Forest, Canada.

LEAVES & VARIATIONS, 24 leaf monoprints

LeavesandVariations_The Trees_FlorenceNeal

Installation view of LEAVES & VARIATIONS (24 monoprints) and THE TREES.

Leaves and Resurfacing - FNeal

ReSurfacing_Florence Neal

RESURFACING (Water-Pine), 2 Linoleum block prints, 14" x 96" each. 2014

Resurfacing-Florence Neal
ReSurfacing detail_Florence Neal

RESURFACING (Water-Pine), details, 2 Linoleum block prints, 14" x 96" each. 2014



Florence Neal_Brasil Rubbing Florence Neal_Brasil
Florence Neal - rubbing drawing of Cambera tree in São Roque, Brasil, 2012.
photo: Helena Hungria

Florence Neal rubbing drawing in Woodstock NY
Florence Neal - rubbing drawing of a Norway Maple tree in
Woodstock, New York, 2014. photo: Mariella Bisson



Florence Neal, Artist Statement

"We have nothing to fear and a great deal to learn from trees, that vigorous and pacific tribe which without stint produces strengthening essences for us, soothing balms, and in whose gracious company we spend so many cool, silent, and intimate hours."
Marcel Proust, Pleasures and Regrets

When I was a child in Georgia and Alabama, I loved the pines. Their pungent smell, deeply textured bark and the sound of pines in the wind are a poignant early memory. In America, trees are often defined in terms of their usefulness. One early business was tapping the Southern Yellow Pine for turpentine, extracting the essence of the pine. Now, I return to the pines and I respond to trees wherever I go. I also seek their essence. My intention is to honor and record the life force seen in the surface of the tree.

In 2003 I made my first tree rubbing drawings of pines, hemlocks and maples at The Catskill Center’s Platte Clove artist residency near Tannersville, NY. These rubbings are direct experiences. I approach the tree with reverence. I use materials that are derived from trees - paper and charcoal. Holding the paper against the tree trunk with one hand, I coax a drawing from the tree bark surface with a flowing arm movement that embodies a caress or a massage. The resulting drawing is a record of the surface I touched.

I have travelled to places in the world where trees have distinct meaning. Recently in Japan, I climbed Mt. Fuji, spent five weeks cutting woodblocks and felt deeply drawn to Japan’s ancient relationship to nature. At a Shinto shrine, I was moved when I saw a woman prayerfully place her hand on a 1200 year-old cedar tree. In Japan, I made rubbings of that specific cedar and of evergreens and cherry trees that captured my eye and seemed to have stories to tell.

In Banff, Canada, at the Banff Centre for the Arts, I was confronted with the destruction of the Lodgepole Pines. The Mountain Pine Beetle is devastating vast swathes of Rocky Mountain forests. As a means of recording and celebrating these disappearing trees, I photographed, and made rubbings for my screen print series entitled RUNES.

In the monoprint series LEAVES AND VARIATIONS, I use leaves as my printing plates. I apply ink and paint to the leaves and run them through the press to create a print, recording veins, stems and structure of the leaves. I create images where painted and inked elements contrast with the leaf revealing its natural surface.

For this exhibition, I made two large linocut prints. I explored textural patterns of tree bark and the rhythms of water surface. The relationship between these undulating lines, the fractal repetitions of oblongs and ovals speak to me about the tenacity of life itself. Growing and flowing, trees and water are essential mirrors of our own humanity. As an artist, I see it as my job, my responsibility, to explore these themes. I record nature's voice resurfacing.

Florence Neal

"Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?"
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

RUBBING DRAWINGS - Locations / Residencies:

Seale, Alabama (Pine Trees)
Banff, Alberta, Canada (Leighton Artists' Colony, The Banff Centre)
São Roque, and Itaparica (Sacatar), Brazil
Columbus and Rabun Gap (The Hambidge Center), Georgia
Vigliagli, Italy (Il Chiostro)
Kawaguchiko, Japan (Mi-Lab, Mokuhanga Inovation Laboratory)
Brooklyn, (Greenwood Cemetery and my Red Hook back yard)
Margaretville, Tannersville (Platte Clove Residency, The Catskill Center)
Woodstock, New York
Meshoppen, Pennsylvania (Soaring Gardens)
Mojacar, Almeria, Spain (Fundación Valparaíso)
Johnson, Vermont (Vermont Studio Center)