Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects presents an exhibition of three painters entitled The Gap, featuring the work of Kurt Knobelsdorf, Sangram Majumdar and Stuart Shils. The exhibition explores the increasingly multi-layered and complex relationship that all three painters have to the practice of working from life. In a recent catalog essay Majumdar wrote:
“More and more, I find myself using the facture of paint as a technical parallel to explore the fractured nature of how we experience our lives, and imagery as a whole. We seem to ‘know’ things before we touch them, befriend’ people and have extensive conversations before we ever meet them in person. My work is about this gap between what we think we know and what is right in front of us.”
Kurt Knobelsdorf (b. 1979 ) uses source material that includes found photography, You-Tube clips, in addition to working from nature and original photography. His dense gritty paintings describe buildings, landscapes and humanity in a compressed format with an intimacy of tone. John Yau characterized Knobelsdorf’s work as, “...Albert York meets William Eggleston and his ‘democratic forest.’” Knobelsdorf attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and currently works in Detroit.
Sangram Majumdar (b. Kolkata, India, 1976) employs direct observation as a starting point for surprising painterly inventions. He paints a blow-up of a photograph lying on a table covered with paper cuttings or a found sculptural model of an old barn disassembled and mixed up. His works, while drawn from life, are reworked and remixed into a painterly mash-up that questions the syntax of representational painting. Majumdar attended RISD and obtained his MFA from Indiana University. His most recent one-person exhibition was in September at the Rothschild Gallery in Tel Aviv, Israel. He will have a solo exhibition at SHFAP in early 2012.
Stuart Shils’s (b. 1954 ) recent oil paintings have grown progressively more abstract and highly keyed, while retaining traces of Shils’ particular nexus of architecture and landscape. Shils writes that they are “ … rooted in memory afar from the place, yet in some way extremely connected to particularity. “ Shils studied with Seymour Remenick and others at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He will have a one-person exhibition at SHFAP in the spring of 2012.
These three artists are re-inventing the language of direct representation in a moment when painting often seems like a handmaiden to photography. Additional paintings from The Gap will be exhibited concurrently, upstairs at the bar 2A, 25 Avenue A. 2A is open 7 days, 4pm-4am. The opening reception at 2A will immediately follow the gallery opening on Thursday, October 20th at 9pm, featuring DJ Trouble (of This is the ModernWorld, WFMU.)
Concurrently with The Gap, SHFAP presents Lester Johnson: Last Paintings. Completed a few months before his death, Johnson’s two last paintings depict himself and his wife from an earlier moment in their lives. Without artifice, working from love and memory, Johnson paints an affecting coda to his lengthy career as the pre-eminent American figurative expressionist painter.
Lester Johnson (1919-2010) was born in Minneapolis and studied with two former students of Hans Hofmann. He moved to New York in 1947, where shared a studio at different times with Larry Rivers and Philip Pearlstein. His work evolved from abstraction and painterly images of Provincetown and NYC toward images of the human figure in an urban setting, in a style influenced by the juicy painterly qualities of Abstract Expressionism and the tough mark-making in the Giacometti paintings he saw in a show at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in 1948. Hilton Kramer observed in Johnson’s work “an attitude of interrogation and anxiety in dealing with the figure.”
He had his first solo show at the Artists Gallery in 1951. He became one of the few figurative artists voted into the Eighth Street Club. In 1964 he began teaching at Yale where he continued until his retirement in 1989. From 1969 to 1974 he was the director of studies for the graduate painting program. In 2005, the William Benton Museum of Art in Storrs, CT, mounted a 50-year retrospective of his work, “People Passing By: Paintings, Drawings and Prints by Lester Johnson.” Johnson’s work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, among many other public institutions.
This installation initiates SHFAP’s occasional series on historically significant artists who worked in the Lower East Side. Johnson worked at 222 Bowery in the mid-fifties, where he first developed his motif of city walkers. A painting from this key early period will be on view along with Johnson’s last paintings.
Please contact Steven Harvey for images or more information at 917-861-7312 or firstname.lastname@example.org. SHFAP is open Wednesday- Sunday from 12-6pm and by appointment.