Joshua Liner Gallery is pleased to present Resolve, an exhibition of twenty-five emerging and established artists whose work is rooted in classical art traditions and training. In rendering the figure, still life, or landscape subject, this illustrious group (including twenty-two painters, two sculptors, and one photographer) expresses a collective interest in classical art forms with a variety of distinct and decidedly contemporary voices. As the first in a series of annual artist-curated exhibitions at Joshua Liner Gallery, Resolve is organized by gallery artist Tony Curanaj and includes works by the following artists:
Anthony Waichulis, Brad Kunkle, Christopher Gallego, Dan Thompson, David Kassan, Edward Minoff, Graydon Parrish, Jacob Collins, Jacob A. Pfeiffer, Jefferson Hayman, Jeremy Mann, Kate Lehman, Kim Cogan Kris Kuksi, Kris Lewis, Lee Misenheimer, Michael Grimaldi, Rob Leecock, Scott Waddell, Shawn Smith, Shawn Barber, Steven Assael, Tony Curanaj, Travis Schlaht, Will Wilson
Though considered divergent from the postwar developments of Pop, Conceptual, and Minimalist art (among others), the curriculum of classical art training—with its emphasis on skill and the realistic depiction of the figure, still life, and landscape—has nevertheless continued to evolve through the interests and talents of contemporary artists. Creating on the fringes of graduate-school art programs and modern art theory, these intrepid practitioners of traditional art forms and techniques have kept them alive and vibrant, while reinterpreting them through the social and visual culture of their time.
Such influences as Van Eyck, Caravaggio, and Rembrandt, as well as Klimt, Degas, and the pre- Raphaelites, to name but a few, can be discerned in many of the figure and portrait paintings and drawings collected here. The gestures, settings, and mood, however, are entirely of the moment, emphasizing the evergreen nature of classical training and its capacity to adapt to whatever arises, from tattoo culture to contemporary graphic design. Vestiges of Turner, Eakins, and other masters are also apparent in the landscape and figurative works included, but elsewhere one can see the boundary-pushing daring of more recent and contemporary figures such as Andrew Wyeth, Antonio López García, and Odd Nerdrum.
Among the painters featured, all work in traditional media, most employing oils or egg tempera on canvas, linen, or panel. The sculptors choose from more unorthodox materials, such as toy figurines and dyed blocks of wood, while continuing a dialogue with their time through the tools and history of realism. The founders, teachers, or graduates of such influential institutions as the Water Street Atelier, Grand Central Academy of Art, New York Academy of Art, Ani Art Academy, and Janus Collaborative School of Art are included in the exhibition. In their masterful hands, the tendency toward realism serves a fresh, new generation of artists in capturing their disparate worlds, lives, and vision.
According to curator-artist Tony Curanaj: “This exhibition of colleagues and influences reflects a relatively narrow but varied slice of the art world, and presents it to an audience that may not be exposed to this segment of contemporary art practice. The title Resolve speaks of their determination and progression, qualities that imbue each of these works with beauty and technical virtuosity. From concept to execution, these contemporary masters of their craft are completely engaged in the artist’s process and an artistic direction that is unwavering, regardless of fashion or trend.”