“The turbulent social and political events of the 1930s were major contributors to my early development of a point of view. I was able to feel the pulse of that period and was fascinated with the faces and activities of the people around me, a fascination with their work, play, determination, strength, greed and evil.” Abe Blashko
We are very happy to announce our upcoming summer show, PER∙FORM, which opens on Friday, July 19, 2013. As always, there will be a nighttime reception at the gallery from 5-8pm on that opening Friday. The show will stay up on the gallery walls until September 14, 2013.
PER∙FORM celebrates depictions of dancers, musicians, circus performers, and stars of the stage, and pulls from our inventory of both early 20th century and contemporary prints. Ranging from abstract to figurative, these compositions are ambitious and inventive in their attempt to capture sound, forms in movement, and the indefinable energy- both physical and emotional- that fuels and motivates performers.
Highlights include Stanley Kaplan’s Vibrato II, which uses multiple, repeated cuts into a linoleum matrix to mimic the quiver of its musical title and an original offset lithograph, circa 1938, that announces the arrival of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey circus performers to 5th and Florida Avenue in Washington, DC. Another showstopper is Robert Riggs’ Drum Major. Completed in charcoal and red crayon, Riggs uses deft and simple line work to conjure up a musician who has given his whole body over to the performance- back arched and foot in mid stomp.Several prints offer more intimate compositions- dancers hovering in the wings of a theater, a reserved and focused duo practicing for a recital. These serve as a nice contrast to scenes of rigorous athleticism and dramatic lighting mixing on center stage. As such, this collection of prints not only showcases the spirit and emotive vitality of performers, but also draws attention to the diverse venues in which these performers execute their talent. Scenes are set under striped circus tents and red-curtained stages, as well as on subway platforms and city streets- proving that these printmakers were inspired by acts of performance both practiced and spontaneous.
Selected Artists: Abe Blashko, Central PTG and Illinois Co., Robert Cook, Joseph Essig, Eugene C. Fitsch, Thomas Handforth, Maya Hardin, Stanley Kaplan, Dorie Marder, Doel Reed, Robert Riggs, Arnold Ronnebeck, John Ross, Andree Ruellan, Georges Schreiber, Thomas Seawell, Ellen Nathan Singer, John Sloan, Sam Swerdloff, and Bruce Waldman.
PER∙FORM on the OPG Website: click here.
PER∙FORM Press Release: click here.
Born in Seattle in 1920, Abe Blashko was a self-taught artist whose specialties were pencil drawings and lithographs of Depression-era figures. He dropped out of school to pursue his obvious talent for drawing and by age 18, he had his first one-man exhibit of prints and drawings at the Seattle Art Museum. His drawings and prints from the late 1930s and 1940s depict the “gritty edge of street life during the Great Depression in Seattle and New York” (Swann). After coming to New York City in 1943, Blashko made a career in illustration and was a contributor to The New Masses. He also taught at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art, New Jersey, from 1988 to 1991.
Musicians, workers, writers, and politicians were all subjects worthy of depicting for the artist. Inspired by Mexican muralists, Blashko focused his critical eye on all facets of daily life. In 1995, Blashko published a collection of prints and illustrations from New York City, entitled Saint Marks Place, East Village Scenes. These prints included several jazz musicians, like the print featured below.