John Berggruen Gallery is pleased to present David Park, Richard Diebenkorn, Nathan Oliveira, Manuel Neri: Figures and Landscapes, an historical survey of works celebrating the iconic art of the Bay Area Figurative movement. This exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue. Many of the works included in Figures and Landscapes are on loan from private collections and have rarely been shown to the public. We would like to extend our warmest gratitude to the individuals who have allowed us the opportunity to bring these paintings together in commemoration of the creative accomplishments of such distinguished artists. Please join us for our opening reception on Thursday, September 4th, 2014 between 5:30–7:30 PM.
John Berggruen Gallery, now approaching its 45th anniversary, is closely intertwined with the history of the Bay Area Figurative era. The longer we meditate on these artists and the history they forged together, the richer our understanding of this movement becomes. These four artists interpreted a forward looking modernist program not to require a specificity of medium and place, like their Abstract Expressionist cousins in New York City, but rather, deferred to optimism and a reverence for nature for inspiration. The majesty and mystery inherent in works such as Diebenkorn’s Landscape with Smoke, 1960, originates from the view that man and nature can indeed coexist in serenity, a perspective that defines the San Francisco Bay Area.
The freely brushed but carefully delineated canvases of these Bay artists quickly distinguished themselves as being disinterested in commercial interests, favoring instead psychological and pre-classical themes. While Diebenkorn and David Park consolidated and refined the wildness of the 1960's into elegant, color saturated canvases, Manuel Neri and Nathan Oliveira, the younger members of these four Bay Area favorites, were inspired by the fundamental quality of isolation. Neri's singular impasto figures and Oliveira's spiritual color fields contemplate man within and without the context of his natural environment. Together, these artists extract from the Bay Area a timeless and enduring view of man working together with nature. Through an exhibition offering a taste of the historical scope of these artists’ accomplishments, we also celebrate our own heritage.