Carol Eisenberg’s “Turquoise Water Lilies” a digitally constructed photograph, at Carver Hill Gallery in Camden. Courtesy of Carol Eisenberg

Carol Eisenberg rode out the early stage of the pandemic on the fourth and fifth floors of a penthouse apartment in Jaffa, Israel, where she spends most winters. She looked out on an empty Mediterranean from one window and a deserted city from another. She was alone and locked down, able to leave her apartment only for groceries and medicine.

“It was a post-apocalyptic landscape. There were no boats on the water, no planes in the sky, no cars on the streets. It was very unsettling,” she said.

Carol Eisenberg is a longtime Belfast resident who recently moved to Rockland, where she is building a home. Photo by Rebecca Eisenberg-Papka

Ever the optimist, Eisenberg is fully committed to finding beauty in the darkest of times and is showing a series colorful and hopeful digitally constructed photographs of red waterlilies, white doves and groves of birch trees with resplendent neon leaves at the Carver Hill Gallery in Camden, through Oct. 5. Her photographs are sometimes are misread as abstract paintings, as she blends, erases and transforms her images with gestural, painterly techniques.

In a statement, she calls her images “slyly subversive in that although they depict nature, which connotes ‘beauty,’ they are replete with urban components in the form of paint, plaster, dirt, words, graffiti or other elements transposed from city walls and sidewalks. Their scarred surfaces speak to my lifelong struggle against feelings of helplessness in the face of injustice, my drive to rebel against conformity, my need to rescue what is damaged and my attraction to the sensuality in decay.”

This is an example of one of Carol Eisenberg’s digitally constructed photographs from an evolving coronavirus series. Courtesy of Carol Eisenberg

A longtime resident of Belfast, Eisenberg recently moved to Rockland. She is building a house in the city’s south end and living in an apartment until her home is ready. Since returning to Maine, she’s has continued a series of photographs related to the coronavirus that began in Israel, using “fantastically surprising illustrations” of the virus cells that she found on the internet. The vivid pink, orange and turquoise colors matched her sensibilities and looked very much like the colors she uses in her waterlilies.

She posted a constructed image on social media while still in Israel and got a good response. Back in Maine, she continues to work on the series. She hasn’t shown the coronavirus work yet, and when she does she wants to “blow them up really big.”

They’re colorful and uplifting, as is so much of her work. “I keep asking myself, ‘Where did it come from?’ I think there must be a longing for beauty when the circumstances are kind of dire.”

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