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Donna Levinstone’s Divine Landscapes

Donna Levinstone is an active visual artists that works from her studio in Long Island City. Her pieces are made of pastel and can be described as “Lightscapes”. She is resolved on calling them so because they are mostly representations of vast seascapes caught in moments of divine light.
The accuracy and life-like aspect of her pieces are remarkable. One would say they are actual photographs before one gets a chance to take a closer look at the fine pastel work put into each one.

Her most recent series catches one’s attention for it’s scale and sense of none-linear narrative. She created a collection of gigantic landscapes contained within five by five centimeter squares. It has always been fascinating to me to come across artist who are capable of expressing an expanse of land on a small surface of paper. Even thought Levinstone has worked with pastoral themes in the past, she is embracing darkness in her latest works and is trying to sincerely captivate a landscape in the depth of the night by asking herself the question: “Is the bright and sunny only healing?”. Levinstone is exploring what it is to have a successful landscape. Someone once said that to do so you simply must have a blue sky and green land but she is meditating on what it means to have a little bit more mystery as opposed to just having a “pretty picture”.

Levinstone pulls out a drawer of carefully laid out black and white landscapes she recently finished. Perplexed by certain details she points out by a hand gesture such as the richness of colour that exits in the grayscale or the faces that appear in clouds, she feels like she is a mere conduit of a greater message. It is a continuous process to relieve one’s soul from the bondage of self so one may do his or her work with greater transparency. Levinstone is an artist who has lived most of her life in the city but finds her truth in the open skies. Her practice lives in the act of longing for something that isn’t there.

“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” from the song Anthem by Leonard Cohen perfectly speaks to Levinstone’s artistic efforts.

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