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Artist Leslie Parke stands in her studio at the Varak Park building in Cambridge on Jan. 14, 2009. Parke was awarded a $25,000 Individual Support Grant honoring a career as a professional painter. DEREK PRUITT Derek Pruitt

Leslie Parke has been awarded a $25,000 Individual Support Grant from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation of New York, honoring her extensive career as a professional painter.

The grant is awarded each year to 12 artists worldwide who have devoted their lives to developing their art and have maintained a mature intellectual, technical and creative artistic development for a minimum of 20 years.

"Making art is a way for me to both experience and comment on exiting art," Parke said in a press statement. "My early work was all about appropriation, working with images from Matisse, Ingres and Giotto. Now art historical references are just the filter through which I see the world."

In her current series, Parke creates abstract compositions from real subject matter, drawn from life. Her subjects - water, trees, crystal, china, recycled bales of paper and cans - become vehicles for shape, color, space and light. She employs monumental scale, all-over composition and gestures that assert the surface of the painting.

Adolph Gottlieb began his career as an artist in New York in the 1920s, becoming one of the small group of artists who initiated the movement known as Abstract Expressionism and achieving artistic and financial success for his work.

Gottlieb had several friends and colleagues who, as artists, were less fortunate. Despite their artistic achievements, they were not able to support themselves through the sale of their art or related work, so Adolph and his wife Esther would often help them out when times were hard or when someone was in serious need. It was in that spirit that Adolph left instructions in his will that a foundation be created to benefit "mature, creative painters and sculptors."

Since 1976, the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation has been making Individual Support Grants to painters, sculptors and printmakers as part of Adolphe and Esther Gottlieb's continuing legacy, reflecting their dedication to assisting individual artists worldwide.

Parke will be one of 15 artists opening the doors to her studio in Cambridge for the third biennial Open Studios of Washington County in July.

For more information, go to the Open Studios website at www.studiotour.org and Parke's website at www.leslieparke.com.

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