Exposition Art Blog: Herbert Gentry - Expressionist Paintings

Herbert Gentry - Expressionist Paintings

"Artist Herbert Gentry (1919-2003) made vibrant expressionist paintings of figures and faces, mixing global influences and African American experience. Referring to his childhood during the Harlem Renaissance, Gentry asserted “Harlem prepared me for Paris.” After completing military service in World War II, Herb Gentry returned to Paris for art school - and found himself in the heart of the expatriate American community in Montparnasse. Gentry moved to Scandinavia in 1959, but always kept a studio in Paris. In 1969, he returned to New York and became a resident of the famous Chelsea Hotel. At home on both continents, Herbert Gentry resided, painted and exhibited on both sides of the Atlantic. His work is represented in important national and international museum collections."(herbertgentry.com)
   “I paint what I experience, who I am, in the Black world, especially in America, there’s a thing that you can’t forget where you came from, you paint from your experiences, who you are”
"Although Gentry may not be as well-known as some of his contemporaries, his influence on artists and musicians of his time spans continents. However, because he spent so much time traveling, he never established a firm enough reputation in any one place. He painted in a semi-figural abstract style, suggesting images of humans, masks, animals and objects caught in a web of circular brush strokes, encompassed by flat, bright color. He has suggested that his works are uncalculated- coming from his subconscious- painting what he feels as he feels it. Gentry’s striking images are the product of his exposure to exotic people and places throughout his lifetime.   "It’s the magic that does the painting, and the magic is within. I can’t see having substance without having magic in the painting. I use hands, fingers, I’ll use anything at that point, it depends. ... I believe sometimes you use the thing nearest if it’s possible. ... The main thing is to get that idea over quickly. Because that feeling, that thought is a very short thought, as an artist it doesn’t last a long time. If you can get it down right away, work with it technically later on. For example, you see a form...should I...shouldn’t I...PUT IT DOWN! Then technically, if it doesn’t fit or you didn’t do it right, you can work with it. But that feeling, that idea, that spiritual thing, you just put it down right then!" (-Herbert Gentry, Oral history interview with Herbert Gentry, 1991 May 23, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.)"(spaniermanmodern.com)

No comments: