A Time Before We Were Born: Visions of Arcadia in Contemporary Painting

Roy De Forest, View of Lake Louise, 1979. Acrylic on canvas, 75 x 87 inches. © The Domain of Roy De Forest. Private collection. Courtesy of George Adams Gallery, New York

Sylvia Wald & Po Kim Art Gallery is pleased to present A Time Before We Were Born: Visions of Arcadia in Contemporary Painting. The exhibition includes works by Susan Bee, Katherine Bradford, JooYoung Choi, Rafael Ferrer, Roy de Forest, Paul Georges, Chris Johanson, Po Kim, Fay Lansner, Judith Linhares, Donna Moylan, Jan Müller, Archie Rand and Purvis Young.

Taking its title from a 1983 Talking Heads song “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)”, this exhibition examines how painters drew on existing mythologies, while inventing their own, to create visions of lost things. (or maybe promised). paradise, visual songs of innocence and experience that transcend time and culture, responding to a deep-seated human need for images of hope and harmony. One way of thinking about modern art history is as an oscillation between the urban and the pastoral, between a confrontation with the realities of industrialized city life and the lost paradise of the natural world, and an imaginary realm in which humans lived in harmony with nature and with each other. This pastoral vision is found in works such as the Tahitian paintings of Gauguin and the paintings of Matisse Luxury, calm and voluptuousness, works in which the anxieties and terror of the modern world have been banished. Extend the definition of “landscape” to ambiguous spaces that erase the boundaries between interior and exterior, A time before we were bornalso recognizes that versions of the pastoral are often haunted by darker intimations, and sometimes by a sense of wild abandonment. These are not classical visions of a perfectly ordered nature.

A time before we were born includes a number of epic-scale paintings, many of which have not been on public display for many years, as well as more intimate works. The exhibition spans several generations and decades, beginning with a look back at the cohort of painters who, in the 1950s, married the energy of abstract expressionism with a rediscovery of figuration and allusions to mythology and literary. Representing this tradition are the paintings of Paul Georges and Jan Müller, who both studied with Hans Hoffmann.

In the 1970s, California Funk art adept Roy de Forest portrayed his own brand of an earthly paradise, while Fay Lansner developed a liberated figurative style drawing inspiration from the legacy of Matisse. Contributing to a resurgence of interest in figurative painting from the 1980s, artists such as Archie Rand and Donna Moylan imbued their narrative paintings with multiple references to art history and world religion. Often, Arcadian paintings can carry within them an implicit critique of injustice, as seen in the work of Po Kim and Rafael Ferrer. More recently, artists such as Susan Bee, Katherine Bradford and Judith Linhares have used highly personal styles to populate imaginary worlds with allegorical figures and motifs, while JooYoung Choi draws inspiration from comics and animation for offer mythical tales of innocence and fantasy. With a playful visual spirit, Chris Johanson also draws on the languages ​​of abstraction and figuration in paintings where nature and culture find an uneasy truce, while in Purvis Young’s urgent painting of mythical insects and Zulu riders vie for the viewer’s attention.

The exhibition is curated by Raphael Rubinstein, poet, critic and professor of critical studies at the University of Houston School of Art. Previous Rubinstein curatorial projects include ‘Reinventing Abstraction: New York Painting in the 1980s’ at the Cheim and Read Gallery and ‘The Silo’ at the Garth Greenan Gallery. In 2017 he collaborated with Heather Bause Rubinstein in a public art installation in Houston based on her book The Miraculous.

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NOTE TO EDITORS:

Exposure: A Time Before We Were Born: Visions of Arcadia in Contemporary Painting
Conservative: Raphael Rubinstein
Artists: Susan Bee, Katherine Bradford, JooYoung Choi, Rafael Ferrer, Roy de Forest, Paul Georges, Chris Johanson, Po Kim, Fay Lansner, Judith Linhares, Donna Moylan, Jan Müller, Archie Rand and Purvis Young
Location: ​​Sylvia Wald & Po Kim Art Gallery, 417 Lafayette Street, 4th Floor, New York
Dated: From June 26 to September 29, 2018.
Gallery opening hours: ​11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday
Requests: 212.598.1155

For more information and high resolution images, please contact:

Sylvia Wald & Po Kim Art Gallery
417 Lafayette Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10003

Tel: 212.598.1155
Email: [email protected]
For media inquiries:
Ann Thurmond, [email protected], 212.598.1155
Raphael Rubinstein, [email protected]

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