Figurative painter Milton Avery once said "I try to capture and translate the excitement and emotion aroused in me by the impact with the original idea."
Well, we all get a unique opportunity to view those original ideas at the "Milton Avery & the End of Modernism" exhibit, which opens Saturday at Nassau County Museum of Art in Rosyln Harbor. It is on view through May 8.
With contributions from the late 1920s through the early 1960s, Avery's bold and innovative use of drawing and color set him apart from artists of his time. This exhibition features 57 works of landscapes, domestic interiors and portraits that span Avery's entire career - emphasizing the flatness of canvas, simplification of form and intensely saturated color.
“It really is about the glorification of the sketch," says Nassau County Museum of Art Director Karl Emil Willers, who curated the exhibit. "The more that Avery captures that sense of immediacy in a finished work, the more that you can think of the sketch as embodying the end of the process rather than just a step in creating the process of art.”
Avery’s early semi-abstract work was viewed as more modern at a time when American scene painting prevailed and was overshadowed when abstract expressionism took hold. Still, his work was "quite seminal in influencing the next generation of American artists – abstract expressionists," says Willers.
The core of the exhibition includes works by Milton Avery in the collection of the Neuberger Museum of Art, as well as loans from Avery's estate, according to Willers. Many of the works include casual markings. Trees are scribbles. Waves are jottings and dashes.
"There’s a certain lightness; a certain attention to the atmosphere and the here and now," Willers says. "It just comes alive in the gallery. I think it will give people a chance to revisit this very important artist of the 20th century.”
Also, be sure to check out the opening of a solo exhibit by Donald Baechler in the museum’s contemporary gallery, which features his collaged paintings and a large scale installation.
Baechler’s work has been described as a fusion of pop culture and Americana, depicting everyday objects and simple figures. It will also be on view through May 8. His works are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and others.
WHAT: “Milton Avery & the End of Modernism” and Donald Baechler solo exhibits.
WHEN/WHERE: Opening Saturday through May 8 at the Nassau County Museum of Art, One Museum Dr. Roslyn Harbor. Museum Hours are 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
ADMISSION: $10 ($4 younger than 12)
INFO: 516-484-9337, nassaumuseum.org
(Note: Displayed photo is a detail of a larger image).