NEW YORK, NY.- Babcock Galleries
presents a much-anticipated exhibition in conjunction with the release of the first monograph of Alan Gussows work, "Alan Gussow: A Painters Nature". As Holland Cotter noted, Gussow (1931 1997) had a skill for
summing up the intimate link between man and nature that was [his] central concern. Through this understanding, he realized an inspired synthesis between his own pursuits as an artist and as a protector of nature.
Some of his finest artistic successes will comprise this solo exhibition of 25 oil paintings. Many rarely seen masterworks from the 1950s will be included, like "Erectheum" (1955), as well as choice paintings from the 1960s and 1970s like "January Thaw" (1965) and "Interrupted Spring" (1975). Other fine paintings, pastels and watercolors will be interspersed, surveying the entirety of his career. This range of work will reveal the breadth of the artists technical fluency, his composition and the prescience of what he created.
Contributing to the art world for almost half a century, Gussow honed a visionary blend of abstraction and representation, always with nature as his primary subject. As he grew from a young adult who loved observing his environment into a force deeply involved in experiencing and conserving it, his art developed from unique landscapes into something new. He connected with the underlying energy of nature, writes James Kiberd in his preface to Gussows monograph, he began creating an art made less from the viewing of nature than the palpable interaction with natural events. "A Painters Nature" promises the opportunity to observe this transformation and the universal connections Gussow found in painting encounters like the sounds of crickets or an autumn chill.
Born in New York City, Gussow studied art at the Pratt Institute before graduating from Middlebury College in 1952. While studying painting at Cooper Union the following year, he was awarded a Prix de Rome, making him the youngest ever to receive the award at the time. He was also honored with the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Art in 1977 and with more than 50 one-man shows. After 20 years of representation by the Peridot Gallery and Joan T. Washburn, Gussows work has shown at the Sid Deutsch Gallery, MB Modern, Gavin Browns enterprise, and most recently at Babcock Galleries. Over the last few years, 6 significant American museums have acquired his works, adding to the growing number of public and private collections to hold his art. Now, unveiling many seldom-shown works, "A Painters Nature" will be the first major exhibition since the artists passing in 1997 to bring to light Gussows achievements as a painter and an environmentalist, examining his skill and how his art interacts with todays ecological consciousness.
As time passes and contemporary art moves in the direction of social and environmental activism
Edgar Allen Beam writes in his review of the monograph for Yankee Magazine
Alan Gussow may come to be seen as a pioneer of the art of engagement.
The monograph, recently published by Hudson Hills Press in a beautifully bound volume, consists of 380 pages with 250 color plates taking readers through a stunning survey of Gussows oil paintings, pastels and watercolors. Art critic and personal friend of Gussows, Martica Sawin complements the images with detailed text. She will be present at the opening reception of the exhibition (Thursday, October 15 from 6 8pm) to sign copies of the book.
In addition to being recognized as a painter, Gussow was a voice heard nationally for environmental advocacy. He entered the world of activism playing an instrumental role in stopping the proposed Con Edison destruction of Storm King, fighting to preserve it in its natural state. He went on to advise senators Robert F. Kennedy and George McGovern on environmental issues, to found and inaugurate the artist-in-residence program for the National Parks Service, and serve on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Earth. He taught all over the country at institutions including the Parsons School of Design, the University of California at Santa Cruz, Sarah Lawrence College, and Middlebury College. His many written works include the books "A Sense of Place: The Artist and the American Land" and "The Artist as Native: Reinventing Regionalism". For a more detailed bio, visit www.babcockgalleries.com.
"Alan Gussow: A Painters Nature" runs through November 25, 2009 at Babcock Galleries.