Forum Gallery features exhibition Modernist to Contemporary in 'The Figure in Black and White'
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Forum Gallery features exhibition Modernist to Contemporary in 'The Figure in Black and White'
Lucian Freud, After Chardin, 2000. Etching on Somerset textured white paper, 28 3/4 x 23 1/2 inches (plate), 37 3/4 x 30 3/4 inches (sheet). Edition 7/46.

NEW YORK, NY.- Forum Gallery opened The Figure in Black and White, an exhibition of expressive figurative paintings, works on paper and textiles in grayscale by more than thirty artists from Modernist to Contemporary. The Figure in Black and White at Forum Gallery started Thursday, March 16, and will continue through Saturday, April 22, 2023.

Family portraits are the subject of a large- scale four-figure charcoal drawing fresh from the studio of William Beckman, a psychologically-charged painting by Gregory Gillespie and a whimsical work in charcoal, feathers and gold leaf by Susan Hauptman.

Moments of intimacy and quiet contemplation are experienced when viewing single portraits rendered by the sensitive hand of artists including Steven Assael, William Bailey, Robert Bauer, Claudio Bravo, Joseph Fioretti, Joseph Hirsch, Craig McPherson, Guillermo Muñoz Vera, Joseph Stella and Charles White. We will have signature examples by each of these artists on view in the exhibition. Also included will be a rare and exceptional example of the meticulous realism of Nebraskan artist, Kent Bellows who passed away in 2005.

Portraits of fellow artists on view include John Graham’s of painter and muralist Joseph Cain, Jules Pascin’s of German-American artist Emil Ganso, and Oleg Vassiliev’s of fellow Russian artist Erik Bulatov by a campfire. An ambitious etching by Lucian Freud, titled After Chardin, is an homage to The Schoolmistress painting by the 18th Century French artist. Another tribute is Michael Leonard’s highly finished, witty self-portrait in graphite in which the Artist renders his own likeness as an effigy in a fictional 17th Century medallion by famed French medalist and sculptor Guillaume Dupré.

Transcending portraiture are charcoal drawings by Alyssa Monks, whose expressionistic female figures emerge anonymously from their vaporous environment, and by Clio Newton, whose works in heroic scale are defiant expressions of female empowerment. Further, Alan Feltus’ stylized female subjects set in an Italian countryside become neo-Classical symbols of an ideal, while Anthony Mitri’s atmospheric scene of strawberry pickers in a bucolic field offers a nod to their service.

Alan Magee revisits the subject he has long explored as an anti-war sentiment and call to peace in his haunting monotypes, while allegorical works by Mark Podwal, Wade Schuman and Maria Tomasula implore deeper thinking of human nature in ways unique to each Artist.

Brilliantly executed with reductive linework is a caricature by beloved New York artist David Levine of American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and a whimsical quilt by the ever-inventive Michael C. Thorpe inspired by his experiments with iPad drawing.

The Figure in Black and White will also explore the art of postwar New York. On view will be Fernand Leger’s Étude pour la Grande Tour (Study for the Great Tower), a 1949 gouache, ink, oil and pencil work on paper of impressive scale featuring construction workers, the theme of some of the Artist’s best-known oil paintings of the postwar period. In addition, we will present a double- sided graphite drawing by Willem de Kooning, a powerful expression of the psychological drama of figurative Abstract Expressionism that the Artist channeled in the early 1950s into a group of famed paintings and drawings depicting women.

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