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"Painting on the Edge: The Art of William Beckman"
2002-08-02 until 2002-10-27
Frye Art Museum
Seattle, WA, USA

A selection of direct and challenging portraits and landscapes by contemporary artist William Beckman are on view at the Frye in Painting on the Edge: The Art of William Beckman Aug. 2 - October 27. Beckman paints himself, loved-ones, and the land he has lived upon. His subjects, whether mother or lover, are delivered to the viewer with gripping details, without embellishment.

His work, whether of a spouse, or parent, partner or friend, is the product of a long-term relationship between artist and subject. These relationships are what inspire the content on all of Beckmans work and in a room full of work by Beckman, it becomes clear that this content is deeply felt.

Beckman creates his figurative art using a unique method. He applies paint, then shaves off layer after layer from the surface with a razor, repainting and polishing the canvas to create lustrous, absorbing images. His realism is stripped of sentiment, his un-idealized portraits scrupulously rendered and his expansive tracts of farmland theatrically scaled. Each painting is epic in significance and matter-of-fact at the same time.

The exhibition is organized by the Frye Art Museum and includes works with these themes: boxes, couples, landscapes, drawings, portraits, and figures. Works from Beckmans earliest period consist of a series of boxes (from 1967 to 1970) depicting solitary female nudes within imaginary domestic interiors. Later, he created frontal images, primarily of his former wife Diana. In many cases these figures are riveting, the model virtually staring down the viewer.

IMAGE:
William Beckman,
Self Portrait,
1998, oil on panel,
14 x 12 inches.
Courtesy of Forum Gallery, NY.


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