2
   

Bay Area Figurative Painters

 
 
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 01:48 pm
Some of my favorite painters are in this group. Here's a link to wiki on the bay area figurative movement:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_Area_Figurative_Movement
I remember liking these folk for one reason or another -
David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, James Weeks, a little iffy about Thiebaud but not really negative. Also interested in Nathan Oliviera and Joan Brown...

Today in the San Francisco Chronicle there is a slide show of some of Park's work , photos from a book, "David Park, Painter: Nothing Held Back" by Helen Park Bigelow.
Here's the slide show: David Park Revisited

I've another book on Park, have to go look up the name of it.

I remember that JLNobody shares my enthusiasm for Diebenkorn (or some of Diebenkorn's work). Any one else ever been interested in this group?
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 3,704 • Replies: 12
No top replies

 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 01:58 pm
Well, here are two books I enjoy having -
David Park 1911-1960
Richard Diebenkorn pantings and drawings 1943 - 1976
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 02:34 pm
@ossobuco,
Tell more, osso. I confess I'm not at all familiar with this group.
What was the motivation for "going figurative" at this particular time? I'm also interested in cultural influences.

Quote:
The Bay Area Figurative Movement (also known as the Bay Area Figurative School, Bay Area Figurative Art, Bay Area Figuration, and similar variations) was a mid-20th Century art movement made up of a group of artists in the San Francisco Bay Area who abandoned working in the prevailing style of Abstract Expressionism in favor of a return to figuration in painting during the 1950s and onward into the 1960s.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_Area_Figurative_Movement
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 04:17 pm
I read it as "fugitive"....
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 04:20 pm
@DrewDad,
Quickly! Over to the Vietnamese Vets thread, Drew! Very Happy
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 05:22 pm
@DrewDad,
Apparently the fugitives were panting..
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 05:29 pm
@DrewDad,
me too, every time i see the thread

that being said, very interesting

0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 05:31 pm
@ossobuco,
Laughing

But they managed produced fantastic paintings anyway! Amazing what people can achieve under pressure, isn't it? Wink
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 05:34 pm
@ossobuco,
I don't remember the history of it all so much as that I liked the paintings when I saw them... or at least some of them.

So, I looked at this link, which I chose from what was there on the wiki link, and learned some details I didn't know, about how it all started.
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,969331-1,00.html

Now, me... I like both abstract expressionism, speaking generally, and the figurative movement - particularly with Diebenkorn, and I'm glad Diebenkorn didn't throw his AE paintings into the dump.

As the Time magazine link isn't too long and is, I think, a useful read, I'll quote it, or a lot of it -

Art: The San Francisco Rebellion
By EDWARD M. GOMEZ Monday, Feb. 05, 1990


Art: The San Francisco Rebellion
By EDWARD M. GOMEZ Monday, Feb. 05, 1990
Abstract expressionism, that image-destroying, paint-flinging whirlwind, held sway as America's -- and modernism's -- dominant style during the 1940s and '50s. Though its base was New York City, the abstract-expressionist ethos pervaded every artistic center in the U.S., including the San Francisco Bay area. There, during the late '40s, a flourishing local school had been influenced by the forceful presence of artist-teachers Clyfford Still and Mark Rothko.

So it was a bold move that David Park, a young instructor at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, made one day in 1949. He gathered up all his abstract-expressionist canvases and, in an act that has gone down in local legend, drove to the Berkeley city dump and destroyed them. Park had become disenchanted with abstract expressionism's strict, non-representational regimen. He wanted, as he put it, to stop producing "paintings" and start painting "pictures." Two years later, he submitted a clearly representational work, Kids on Bikes, 1950, to a competitive show -- and won, to the astonishment of the Bay Area's close-knit art community. "My God," remarked Park's friend, former student and fellow painter Richard Diebenkorn. "What's happened to David?"

What had happened, and what it led to, is the theme of "Bay Area Figurative Art, 1950-1965," an exhibition rich in modern American art history, on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through Feb. 4. The show, consisting of 90 paintings, drawings and sculptures, will travel during the rest of 1990 to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington and then on to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Focusing on Park and ! nine others, the well-researched survey suggests that the Bay Area artists' return to figurative art was not merely guerrilla resistance to abstract expressionism but a genuine stylistic movement. As the guest curator, Stanford University's Caroline A. Jones, writes in the catalog, it gave Bay Area artists "a way of saving that which was still vital and dynamic in the Abstract Expressionist style and a way of moving forward."
Diebenkorn, along with Elmer Bischoff and James Weeks, joined Park on the faculty at the California School of Fine Arts. All eventually coalesced as the movement's "first generation," pursuing the paths opened up by Park's early experiments. By 1954 Park had moved beyond his initial, hard-edged, painstaking compositions to a manner represented in the show by Nudes by a River, loosely sketched bodies set down on brushy backgrounds filled in with broad, drippy strokes.

Park, Diebenkorn and Bischoff regularly drew together from live models, eschewing abstract expressionism's notion of drawing "from the subconscious," a holdover from surrealist automatism. In a work of the '50s like Coffee, 1956, Diebenkorn smudged over or omitted facial features altogether. Bischoff harmonized roughly sketched figures and their environments in understated, cool-warm canvases like the perfectly composed Orange Sweater, 1955. Weeks, a billboard painter by trade, followed Park in destroying his earlier works, opting instead for abstracted figures rendered in big blocks of color.

Second page to follow


ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 05:35 pm
page 2 -

Soon a more European-influenced "bridge generation" expanded the style by incorporating more autobiographical references and symbolism into its painting. Nathan Oliveira, who admired the work of Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon, gave his lumbering figures an existential thrashing on splattered, paint-encrusted surfaces. Paul Wonner could capture precise facial expressions in nearly transparent washes of color, or just as easily squeeze the pigment out with the goopy thickness of cake frosting. In Football Painting 2, 1956, Theophilus Brown added blurred images of bodies in motion to the mix.

Bay Area figurative art continued to evolve even after the charismatic Park's death from cancer in 1960 at age 49. Joan Brown, Manuel Neri and Bruce McGaw had all studied with the movement's pioneers. In the early '60s, these younger artists introduced more personal subject matter, along with something akin to the new spirit then percolating among San Francisco's Beat poets. Their work displayed the sensibility of the evolving "underground" scene -- angrier and more confrontational, yet also funnier.

Joan Brown exaggerated gesturalism and surface texture by troweling mortar- thick layers of paint on canvas. Her exuberant, gloppy subjects ranged from youthful nudes (Girls in the Surf with Moon Casting a Shadow, 1962) to kitchen appliances (Refrigerator Painting, 1964) and the goofy, squinting face of her pet dog (Models with Manuel's Sculpture, 1961). In Brown's anything-goes color schemes, brooding burgundies, hot pinks and Velveeta-cheese yellows oozed from the canvas with gooey gusto. In drawings on paper, she even collaged strips of fake fur. McGaw produced more straightforward self-portraits and still lifes, while sculptor Neri's headless, armless mannequins tried to take the figurative program into three dimensions.

By the mid-'60s the movement was winding down. Faced with the geometric, industrial forms of Pop and early minimalist art, paint-laden expressionism seemed exhausted and out of date. The second-generation artists moved on. Figures eventually vanished completely from Diebenkorn's work as he returned, in his Ocean Park series, to a refined and elegant abstraction.
Examining the Bay Area output today, viewers will recognize strong affinities to later styles. Brown's dense canvases helped lay the groundwork for San Francisco's subsequent funk explosion; Park's blank-faced male nudes anticipated Eric Fischl's anxious, naked suburbanites. Much of the vigorous Bay Area brushwork was reflected, more than a quarter-century later, in paint- happy neoexpressionism. Despite some occasional heavy-handedness, though, the works displayed in this show are far more engaging than their irony-loaded grandchildren of the '80s.

"I'd like to break down the damn picture plane!" Park declared at the outset of his daring venture. He and his followers never accomplished so complete a rupture. Nonetheless, they turned out what Park, had he lived to see them, might have called some very fine pictures.


Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,969331-2,00.html#ixzz0b1t4ycW8
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 05:45 pm
@ossobuco,
Thanks, osso.
Reading now.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 05:55 pm
@msolga,
So would you say that they were aiming for a humanization, a more personal approach (compared to the abstract expressionists) in their paintings, osso? Not just their choice of subject subject matter, but their whole attitude to art?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 06:06 pm
@msolga,
Me, I think they're both human based approaches, just different., with some crossover - some of the figurative group got pretty expressive and probably pulled from subconscious sources (bla bla) and someone like de kooning had some figuration..
never trust me to give the real scoop: I like paintings at some primal non intellectual level..
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » Bay Area Figurative Painters
Copyright © 2024 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 04/14/2024 at 08:52:24