Master of Illusion: The Magical Art of Gary Erbe traces the artist’s career from his early trompe l’oeil works executed in a style the artist calls “levitational realism” – for the illusionistic levitation of the objects depicted – to his more recent paintings that combine trompe l’oeil realism with modernist tendencies, creating works that focus on juxtaposed objects and the dynamics of composition, form, and structure. Inspired by popular culture, Erbe’s subjects range from nostalgic images of childhood pursuits and national pastimes, to American jazz and the golden age of 1950s radio, television, and film, to American history, nationalism, and contemporary social issues. Although self-taught, Erbe’s immaculate skill imbues familiar items with a heightened realism that evokes the otherworldly clarity of Surrealism. Painted from carefully crafted constructions of objects belonging to our shared American experience, Erbe’s work is at once aesthetically complex and profoundly engaging to all.
Master of Illusion: The Magical Art of Gary Erbe is generously sponsored by
Andrea B. and Peter D. Klein
Pien and Hans Bosch
Fern and Hersh Cohen
Still life painting celebrates the abundance, beauty, and diversity of the natural world. Often intimate and engaging, depictions of flowers, fruit, and tabletop objects reveal the artist’s skill in rendering varying textures, in capturing the brilliance of nature’s colors, and in developing harmonious, yet complex, compositions. This exhibition, featuring works from the Museum’s Permanent Collection, traces the development of still life painting from late 19th-century naturalism through the formalist concerns of early- 20th century modernism to the verisimilitude of photorealism in the 1970s. Work by Carducius Plantagenet Ream, William Merritt Chase, Ilya Bolotowsky, Jan Matulka, Helen Torr, Joseph Stella, David Burliuk, Nicolai Cikovsky, Milton Avery, and Robert Kipniss, among others, is included.
Synapses: Threads for Thought presents over two dozen works from the Museum’s collection as a meandering thread of diverse connections. Paintings, prints, and photographs executed in a range of styles and with varying subjects are arranged so that each work links to those that precede and follow it, but in different ways. The revealed associations in concept and formal concerns enlarge the viewer’s interpretation and highlight the interconnectedness of visual experience. With works ranging from a late-16th century Annunciation and George Grosz’s Eclipse of the Sun to abstractions by Arthur Dove and photographs by Larry Fink, this exhibition embraces the breadth of the Museum’s collection.