On Saturday, April 1st, Wally Workman Gallery will open a solo exhibition with Nola Parker titled Holding Space. Landscapes on panel, this show reflects the physical world that holds us. However, it also reflects and honors our inner worlds. Parker’s series The Neighborhood depicts the manmade safety of our lives. Her series The Wild depicts the mystery of the undomesticated. The Garden depicts the line in-between, the human success and failure in attempting to control the natural.

Nola Parker is a self-taught landscape painter that lives and works in central Vermont.

Growing up in Vermont, the outdoors was a calming, reflective, and sometimes mystical space for me. This feeling of connectedness with nature has always been a driving force in my life and work. As a painter, I have always been drawn to paint my surroundings and it is the natural world that most often catches my eye. I find everything about it captivating and the fact that it is always changing means I can be fascinated by the same place many times over.

My process begins with photography, as I often work from photographs. I take pictures on walks, on errands, all the time in daily life. I rely on the frame of the camera to help determine my composition and narrow my focus. I like spending a lot of time with a photograph and really marinating in the details as I paint from it. I work in acrylic or gouache on paper and panel. I like to explore and feel out a painting, leaving a lot of space for spontaneity and discovery. I love to be surprised by a line or color choice or shape - that is the ultimate painter’s high for me. I’m interested in nature in its pure form but also in the spaces where plants and people exist together, especially where this happens harmoniously. This is why I am so intrigued by gardens and gardening. I’m interested in the personality of a space and its natural inhabitants. While I don’t think a plant itself can be “sad” in the human sense, I do think each possess many interesting quirks, sometimes silly, sometimes sad, or majestic, strange or hopeful. I paint to capture that theoretical personality, not to attempt realism.

As someone who is obsessed with the landscape who is also living in a time of climate crisis, I find it impossible to ignore this fact in my work. My awe, appreciation, and love for nature exists simultaneously with the knowledge that it is under significant threat. As a human being and a mother, I often think about what the climate emergency and human inaction will make of life for us. In my work, I think of what it will make of the world and how vital wild things are to all of our lives.

(Nola Parker)