I come from a family that had copious amounts of china. There was informal china and formal china, china for the beach house, salad plates, dessert plates, bread plates, luncheon plates and dinner plates. Cups with two handles for consume and cups with one handle for coffee, and demi-tasse cups and on and on. Despite having china for every possible occasion or combination of food, it was almost never used. It was considered too precious and belonging to someone else — as much of it was inherited.
In an effort to counter act that, at least once a year I pull out all the china and use it for a big party. In this case, I tend to try to make the food match the china, rather than visa verse. I have not mastered a tomato aspic, although the china is screaming out for it. One year, after the party and before I put away the dishes I decided to pile the plates on a table and make a still life out of it. I had been painting piled up newspapers and recycled cans, this just seemed to be one more thing I could pile up. And, in deed, I didn’t stop with the plates, but also added crystal.
Besides relating to the paintings of recycled materials that I was doing, I felt that they also related to my landscapes which are all about light, reflection, transparency and translucency. To make the connection more evident, I put the china into the river. You may notice the leaves floating over the dishes.
Leslie Parke, “China in the River”, 28 inches x 20 inches, oil on linen