American Works on Paper: 1800-Present
at the Masters Festival of the Arts
The Arno Maris Gallery, Ely Hall, Westfield State College, Westfield, Massachusetts
Contact: Gina Greer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Arno Maris Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 2 to 5 pm.
Spanierman Gallery, LLC, is pleased to announce the opening on June 26, 2010 of American Works on Paper, 1800–Present, to be held at the Arno Maris Gallery, Ely Hall, Westfield, Massachusetts, as part of the Masters Festival of the Arts. This eight-week summer festival will include exhibitions as well as lectures, theater productions, and concerts. Kenneth M. Lemanski, vice president of the college, states that the festival represents a “continuation of the college’s commitment to the revitalization of Westfield downtown with a multi-faceted arts program both in the downtown and on our campus.”
Consisting of over thirty works, American Works on Paper, 1800–Present conveys the diversity of American art over the course of more than two hundred years. Among the selections are images by Oscar Bluemner, Alfred T. Bricher, Jasper Cropsey, Arthur B. Davies, Philip Leslie Hale, Martin Johnson Heade, Daniel Huntington, George Luks, John Whorf, and many others. These works and others from Spanierman Gallery are illustrated in a catalogue accompanying the exhibition (see catalogue details).
Sometimes considered to take second place to paintings, works on paper often have the upper hand. Whereas artists at times create oils to make statements or to grab the attention of buyers or exhibition-goers, they frequently enjoy a greater freedom and creativity when working on paper. Deriving inspiration from the distinctive properties of graphite, charcoal, pastel, watercolor, and other formats, their images—as many of the examples in this exhibition reveal—seem naturally to arise from their mediums and materials or vice versa. In Storm over Taos (1930s) Emil Bisttram used the versatility of watercolor—its stark contrasts and tonal washes—to create a dramatic effect. Freely applying crayon on paper, in Glendale (New Jersey), Oscar Bluemner used color and line to convey the varying rhythms in a view of the regional landscape. In Country Road #6 (1968) Gershon Benjamin applied oil to paper, conveying the essence of a rural landscape by consolidating forms in the landscape into rounded masses with clear contours.
Several artists used works on paper to record slices of life, as may be seen in George Luks’s Figure Study Paris (1900-10) and his Girl Playing, Luxembourg Gardens (1900-10), on-the-spot sketches. Probably rendered by Luks while sitting in a Paris café, these images capture the spirit of the Belle Époque. A similar direct response to urban life is conveyed by James Daugherty in Hester Street, October 26, 1933 (1933), in which the artist expressed the congested nature of New York’s Lower East Side through his subject and composition.
In a number of abstract works, the medium is the subject. A precise use of gouache and ink afforded the sense of balance achieved by Rolf Scarlett in his asymmetrical arrangement of crisp geometric shapes in Composition with Blue Circle (1940s). In an untitled collage, Gertrude Greene created a stark yet animated image with strips of red and white against a black background. In a work of 1998, Dan Christensen combined his use of the unusual mediums of the spray paint gun and broadly applied strokes of acrylic to create an image with mandala-like spiritual powers combined with a feeling of explosive energy.
For further information, please email Bethany Dobson (GG)