This exhibition will explore man and his image in recent art. The human form has not been of central importance to contemporary artists. In the work of those artists who are even interested in depicting the human form, man is subsumed by decorative pattern, by expressive distortion, or by anonymous form. Recent images of man, regardless of stylistic school, share the qualities of generalization, stylization and distortion of form.
The intent is not only to generalize form, but to negate the uniqueness of the form as a reflection of an individual human being. The image is willfully de-personalized and often faceless. The individual is de-emphasized to create a generic man. Philip Pearlstein, Jim Lange, and Horacio Torres frequently crop thier paintings to omit the heads of thier figures. Their images are purposefully faceless and their torsos stylized. Ben Mahmoud shows faces in shadow and figures from the back. Red Grooms uses cartoon inspired figures.
There is a tendency to transform, distort and fragment the image to create expressive and emtional content. Paul Lamantia’s segmented and surrealistic body parts identify no one but have a powerful expressive force. The organic forms of the human body, and their articulation, are no longer a focus of artistic concern. Ray Yoshida places fragmented organic parts together within inorganic forms in a chart-like arrangements.
There is a significant undercurrent of fantasy, magic, and the imaginary in these images. This is particularly true of the mysterious quality of the figures of Robert Lostutter. Some create an imaginary world through their distortions of the human form. In Elwood Smith’s and Gladys Nilsson’s work, the human form is endowed with animal-like attributes to create fantsatic images. Often, the world of fantasy created by these distorted human forms becomes decorative pattern as in the drawings of Krys Hendren or James McGarrell. Or the figures are reduced in scale and get lost on the surface of the dense paintings of Bob Donley. The figures, as individul people, are not of primary importance and are de-emphasized by being lost in the pattern. In the works of other artists, the decorative use of the human form takes precedence over any expressive or archetypal interest, as in the boxes of Judy Citrin, where the human form is twisted around a box.
The human image, throughout the range of styles choses for this exhibition, emerges as a transformed and anonymous image.