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“Expressive Voice: Landscape of Emotion” – Exhibit Begins on June 7

May 13, 2013
"Fortune Teller VI" by David Aronson
"Fortune Teller VI" by David Aronson

Keene State College’s Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery will display works of Boston Expressionism art from June 7 to July 26, 2013. The exhibit, titled “The Expressive Voice: Landscape of Emotion”, showcases works by artists known for their distinctive blend of visionary painting that includes dark humor, religious mysticism, and social commentary. The exhibit is presented by Danforth Art, a museum in school located in Framingham, MA. It showcases the historical roots of the movement from the 1930s through the 1960s as well as the continued presence of Boston Expressionism in contemporary works by artists living and working today.

“I am very pleased to offer the perspective of Boston Expressionism artists to Keene and surrounding communities. The movement is unique to Boston and has influenced many contemporary artists,” said Maureen Ahern, director of Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery at Keene State College.

Boston Expressionism, which emerged in the World War II era, has long existed outside the mainstream of contemporary art. Its artists painted realistically at a time when abstraction was the trend, yet these artists explore human emotion and spirituality with color and imagination. Artists such as Hyman Bloom and Jack Levine represent a fascinating cross-section of Boston Expressionism. Having grown up in the Jewish immigrant communities of Boston, the artists often draw on their Eastern European heritage. These artists worked from memory rather than directly from nature, depicting scenes inspired by the Hebrew Talmud, classical music, or personal memories.

A second generation of Boston Expressionist artists included David Aronson, Arthur Polonsky and Henry Schwartz. Most of these artists studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts under the direction of Karl Zerbe, and remained committed to representational figuration at a time when the contemporary art world embraced abstraction, pop and minimalism. A third generation of Boston Expressionist artists appeared in the 1970s and 1980s, and continues working today. They include such diverse painters as Aaron Fink, Gerry Bergstein and Jon Imber. While all unique, their work continues a tradition of painterly expressionism, expanding our consideration of painting in a digital age.