COMMENTARY

“Elen Feinberg’s paintings might best be described as windows into the metaphysical. The surfaces are gleaming with the imagery of the sensory world. What they seek to open up is not the world’s naked skin but those transitory spaces in the mind from which we can re-acquaint ourselves with the world…. The subject that enters during th(ese) crepuscular moment(s) can be traced back to a particular notion, traditionally referred to as ‘the sublime.’
“The ‘Nocturnes’ series is perhaps the boldest and most fully realized of the artist’s experiments of the last decade. The images in these paintings are radically distilled, reduced to the bare essentials. A single cloud or a highlight in the evening sky or a corona-like halo loom as if in a half-developed photograph or some twilight room of consciousness, somewhere between memory and dream…half-shimmer, half-glow….”
– Albert Fayngold, New York City, 2000

“(Feinberg’s) depictions of clouds and incandescence lift, hovering on the borderline between representation and abstraction, simultaneously recalling the luminous clouds of Albert Bierstadt and the sublime color washes of Mark Rothko.”
– Elizabeth Chubbuck Weinstein, Art Curator, Louisiana Art and Science Museum

“A Post-Modernist sublime manifests in the paintings Elen Feinberg has been realizing over the last decade. From the Romantics to the Luminists to the latter-day Transcendentalists,…Feinberg makes paintings none of them quite got to paint. (She) has moved from suffusing the glow of the sublime – or, if you would, the sublime glow – through her landscapes to composting her ‘scapes entirely from and with that glow.”
– Peter Frank “Elen Feinberg: The Post-Modern Sublime” Plains Art Museum 2000

“How to make a picture of instability, a permanent image of change, without making an unstable picture – that has been one concern of her ‘metaphysical’ still-lifes. And when clouds filled the space of her canvases… she fastened and weighted them with heavy wooden frames painted black as anchors…. Locked inside are the particular attractions of the joy and terror of floating in gravityless freedom, a glimpse of the sublime.”
– William Peterson, “Artspace Magazine” 1991

“Feinberg’s sensitivity to the constraints and freedom of space, to the timeless and ethereal that nurture her emotions and intellectual response, recalls Wordsworth’s famous definition of poetry as ‘the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings recollected in tranquility.’ Hence (her paintings) can be seen as an ongoing struggle to contain emotion without dampening its thrill.”
– Noemi Zarb, The Independent, Island Republic of Malta, 1999

“Elen Feinberg seeks the beauty inherent in that which overwhelms us, sometimes…a fragment, and sometimes capturing a whole universe of awesome power.”
– Lesley Wright, “The City Series: Taos, Albuquerque, Santa Fe” 1998

“(Feinberg) knows that quiddity is not an art, and that while the cornucopia of history may serve as an inspiration, what counts first and last in painting is the act of painting itself. Her search is for those rare and fruitful moments of perfection when time stands still and paint is transubstantiated into meaning and spirit.”
– Timothy App, “Artspace Magazine” 1984