The gallery will present an overview of Brett Bigbee’s (b. 1954) recent paintings and drawings completed during the past ten years. Included will be three large-scale figurative oil paintings, small-scale still-life paintings and related drawings, both developmental and fully realized. His most recent painting, Abby (2005 – 2010), depicts a pre-teen girl clad in a brightly-colored flowered swimsuit emerging from a landscape of dirt and leafy groundcover. The exhibition will include loans from private and museum collections and will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with text by John Yau.
Bigbee’s highly detailed and refined realism results in works of arresting psychological intensity and sensitivity that break free of the clichés and sentimentality too often associated with the genre. Yau writes: “Working on a painting, often for years, Bigbee always places his labor-intensive process at the service of the particularizing expression, at once direct and elusive, relaxed and introspective, open to the world and yet separate from it.” And speaking to the near metaphysical effect, Yau continues: “Stillness and change lie at the heart of the artist’s portraits: the aching desire to slow down time is spelled out in carefully effaced brushstrokes, which literally and figuratively caress each surface and trace each contour. Bigbee’s labor – an act of devotion – is essential to the meaning of his work.”
This exhibition marks the first New York showing of the Bigbee’s work since 2003.
“Will Barnet Small Works on Paper from the 1950s” remains on view at the gallery through October 15th. “Will Barnet at 100” remains on view at the National Academy Museum through December 31st.