Frank Perna’s new series of paintings capture moments in a wetland landscape – the lakes and ponds of Kawartha Lakes Signature Park (which opened in 2003) and the pond on the Perna family property nearby. 

Perna first photographs the lakes and ponds of Kawartha Lakes Signature Park when the area is blazing with fall colours, then in his studio, crops and edits the images.  The resultant paintings of various sizes in oil stick on mylar, are mounted on wood.

The paintings are a celebration of the riot of colour found in nature as well as a meditation on the reflected abstraction mirrored in these wetlands.  The depth, direction and flow of the water are controlled mostly by the local beaver population, who manipulate and engineer nature by dam construction.  The area is in constant transition.  These wetland studies are a freeze frame of a fleeting moment affected by sun, wind, water, and wildlife. 

Perna observes the water reflections found in ambient backwaters and renders the extremely subtle shifts in colour and picture planes.  He further explores this concept by inverting the images, combining them in diptychs and thus creating new compositions.  The result is an intriguing play between surface tension and calm, colour field and abstract expressionism, and crisp focus against subtle movement.  

An illusory surface represents the depth of a deep body of water.  An edge of shoreline gives a hint of the actual landscape being reflected; ripples are clusters of rhythm. Perna’s representation of this surface veneer suggests  incalculable organic systems of nature in this floating world.

Concurrent to these waterscapes, Perna is developing a new series of paintings of more turbulent waterways, photo-referenced from various travel experiences from Tobermory to Tibet and from Vancouver to Varanasi.

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Frank Perna

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