In time for the Holiday Season, ACME Fine Art will mount a group exhibition of still life paintings made by a select group of 20th and 21st century artists. The exhibition is titled STILL LIFE INVITATIONAL 2014, and it will open on Friday, 7 November 2014, and will be on view through Saturday, 3 January 2015. An Opening Reception will be held in conjunction with SoWa First Fridays from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on the 7th of November.
The exhibition will feature a fine group of paintings and sculpture that were hand selected by Gallery Director David Cowan. Cowan has included fresh artwork by popular Gallery Artists: Kenneth Stubbs, Lester Johnson and George Lloyd, as well as new work by contemporary artists: Mike Wright, Donald Beal, and Richard Baker. Rounding out the lineup will be a small group of elegant mid-century modern paintings from an important local collection by noted modernist James Lechay.
Art Historians credit Dutch and Flemish painters of the 17th century with creating the first important artworks in the still life genre. The tradition of still life painting flourished throughout western art for centuries thereafter, with important examples painted by such esteemed artists as Brueghel, Chardin, Cezanne, Braque, Gris, and Lhote. The genealogy of American still life painting dates from as early as the 18th century, and its lineage includes works by such artists as Copley, Peale, Harnett, Hartley, O’Keefe, and Demuth.
The artwork selected for ACME Fine Art’s STILL LIFE INVITATIONAL 2014 spans from the early 1950s through today, and ranges stylistically from Cubism, to Abstract Expressionism, to Magic Realism and beyond. For Precisionists and Expressionists alike Cubism played an important role in modern American still life painting and sculpture. Early in the 20th century many American artists went abroad to study with artists like Lhote, Ozenfant and Leger, and brought the avant-garde style back home with them, subsequently affecting- through influence and teaching- an entire generation of modernists in the U.S.
For the Cubists painters, the still life was a perfect point of departure to display the multifarious points of view absorbed by the picture plane of their canvases. American artist/teacher Ambrose Webster, whose Fauvist canvases were exhibited in the Armory Show of 1913, studied with Lhote in France in the 1920s. Shortly thereafter he opened his School of Modern Painting in Provincetown Massachusetts, and it became an important point of dissemination for Cubism. For Webster’s protégé Kenneth Stubbs -perhaps Webster’s most important student- the still life became one of his primary subjects. Three of Stubbs’ still life paintings –rarely seen since they were originally exhibited in the 1950s- will form the locus mundi of this exhibition.
Hans Hofmann is often credited with being the most influential teacher of artists in the last century. Given his roots in European Cubism, it is perhaps not surprising that Hofmann’s teaching method invariably involved the still life. Hofmann’s students –regardless of where their journey to artistic maturity may have taken them- interpreted the still life repeatedly as an exercise under the maestro’s tutelage. Hofmann’s influence on at least two generations of American painters was enormous both directly and indirectly. Although Lester Johnson did not study with Hofmann, Cameron Booth and Alexander Masley –Johnson’s early teachers- both did. The Expressionist still life that evolved during the late 1950s and 1960s can be seen in the paintings of Lester Johnson, and James Lechay, and when it collides with a Post-Modern approach to Cubism, in the paintings of George Lloyd (who studied with Johnson at Yale) and in the constructions of Mike Wright. Richard Baker and Donald Beal may appear at first glance to be more traditional in their approaches; however, both of these contemporary artists use traditional techniques to coax the viewer to a place beyond the mere ordinary reality.
ACME Fine Art’s STILL LIFE INVITATIONAL 2014 will be on view from 7 November to 3 January 2015 in our Harrison Street Galleries, and also on view at www.acmefineart.com and on our ARTSY site: https://artsy.net/acme-fine-art. For further information about the exhibition or the artists please contact the gallery at email@example.com or 617.585.9551.