The Bay Area Figurative Art movement, which grew out of a desire to make "good paintings," began with painting the human form. That was a radical act when Abstract Expressionism, born in 1940s New York, and Europe's modernist movement, dominated the art world. This new style was quickly understood because the images were recognizable. The bold methods of handling paint, which are marks of Abstract Expressionism, were applied to shapes, derived from real or imagined scenes.
From March 25 to May 11, Art Ventures Gallery (artventuresgallery.com) will highlight California's only homegrown art movement. Art Ventures Gallery will be displaying the human form, still lives, and landscapes by James Weeks and Paul Wonner.
James Weeks and Paul Wonner were the lesser-known colleagues of the movement's chief purveyors Richard Diebenkorn and David Park. In 1955, Brown and Wonner rented a studio space in the same building on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley where Diebenkorn worked. Weekly drawing sessions in Berkley brought Weeks, Wonner, Park, and Diebenkorn together and inspired their art.
Because Wonner feared that his works would be too journalistic, too much like illustration, he wanted to stay in the genre of landscapes, figures, and still lives. "To Flora" is one of his masterpieces. His method was to set a background and a floor plane and then paint the objects separately, one by one, not arranged ahead of time. He chose the object that comes next and is surprised by the outcome. He tried to bring together by subjective linear designs, each object or shadow leading to another throughout the painting. Drawing and perspective are altered to support the linear composition.
Visit Art Ventures Gallery through March 25th through May 11th to enjoy the artwork of California's only homegrown art movement. You don't want to miss this opportunity.
Art Ventures Gallery
888 Santa Cruz Ave
Menlo Park, CA 94025