American 20th-21st Century Representational Art



This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American 20th-21st Century Multi-Subject Representational Art." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to the articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the date of publication in Resource Library.

Materials referenced below could not be readily placed in other Topics in American Art. New topics will be created from these disparate materials when there is enough content aggregated to create them.

Following the listing of Resource Library articles and essays is the heading "TFAO references." Periodically TFAO conducts keyword searches from the Resource Library homepage relating to this topic. The count of pages within Resource Library citing the keywords indicates breadth of coverage in Resource Library for this topic. We recommend that researchers always search within Resource Library for additional material. Please see TFAO's page How to research topics not listed for more information.

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Articles and essays from Resource Library in chronological order:


2008 - 2010


2004 - July though December


Click below for more articles and essays published in:



"While our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all."

- Ray Bradbury in his Preface to Zen in the Art of Writing (1990). Quote is sourced from Wikipedia.


TFAO references:

A 11/29/13 search within TFAO's digital library retrieved 1,820 pages referencing " Representational"


From other websites:

Alice Aycock Drawings: Some Stories Are Worth Repeating, an exhibit held April 23, 2014 - July 13, 2013 at the Grey Art Gallery of New York University. Accessed December, 2015

Apple Pie: Symbols of Americana in MMoCA's Permanent Collection, an exhibit held January 23, 2010 to April 11, 2010 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum's website says: "Works of art in the exhibition function as a fulcrum for exploring America's archetypal symbols and for investigating the divide between the diverse experience of American life and the persistence of its core iconic images and themes." Accessed February, 2015

Awake in the Dream World: The Art of Audrey Niffenegger, an exhibit held June 21 - November 10, 2013 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Includes blog. Accessed August, 2015

Clayton Brothers: Inside Out, an exhibit held September 12, 2010 to January 2, 2011 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum's website says: "The Clayton Brothers construct complex narratives that introduce memorable characters and comment wryly on contemporary life." Accessed February, 2015

Curiosity: From the Faraway Nearby, an exhibit held Saturday, October 27, 2012 - Sunday, January 27, 2013 at the Harwood Museum of Art, University of New Mexico. Includes essay by Jina Brenneman, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions. Accessed January, 2015.

The Discerning Eye: Scintillating Paintings from Rodney Burlingame, an exhibit held at the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art. Accessed April, 2015.

Ed Blackburn - Jumping Across (The River), an exhibit held February 5th ­ May 22nd, 2011 at the Old Jail Art Center. Includes 24:35 Artist's Gallery Talk, a February 19, 2011 online video. Artist combines images and text in his paintings. Accessed April, 2015.

Esmé Thompson: The Alchemy of Design, an exhibit held April 9 through May 29, 2011 at the Hood Museum of Art. Includes podcast interview and press release. Accessed January, 2015.

Every Tattoo Tells A Tale: Mark Mahoney & The Shamrock Social Club, an exhibit held at the California Heritage Museum. Accessed December, 2015.

Excavating New Ground: American Art in the 1970s, an exhibit held February 11 - August 14, 2011 at The Fralin Museum of Art, University of Virginia. Materials include exhibit labels and portfolio. Accessed August, 2015

Experiments in Navigation: The Art of Charles Hobson, an exhibit held April 30 - July 6, 2008 at Cantor Arts Center and April 30 - August 17, 2008 at Peterson Gallery, Green Librar, Stanford University. Includes press release. Accessed August, 2015

Facing Home: Paintings and Drawings from Mississippi by James Madison Miller V, an exhibit held at the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art. Accessed April, 2015.

Immanence and Revelation: The Art of Ben Frank Moss, an exhibit held September 13, 2008 - January 4, 2009 at the Hood Museum of Art. Includes essay and press release. Accessed January, 2015.

Janet Sullivan Turner: Retrieval and Rebirth, an exhibit held October 3, 2014 - January 18, 2015 at the Noyes Museum of Art. Accessed August, 2015

Jim Wagner: Trudy's House , an exhibit held Saturday, May 18 - Sunday, September 8, 2013 at the Harwood Museum of Art, University of New Mexico. Includes essay by Jina Brenneman, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions. Accessed January, 2015.

Joseph O'Sickey: Unifying Art, Life and Love, an exhibit held May 2 - July 21, 2013 at the Canton Museum of Art. Includes biography, catalog excerpts, gallery guide. Accessed August, 2015

Jules de Balincourt, an exhibit held Nov 15, 2014 - Jan 25, 2015 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Accessed March, 2015.

Kim Abeles: Art and Activism, an exhibit held September 11 - November 21, 2010 at the Laband Art Gallery at Loyola Marymount University. Accessed February, 2015

Luscious: Paintings by Emily Eveleth, an exhibit held July 9 - October 24, 2010 at the Smith College Museum of Art. Accessed April, 2015.

Malcolm Morley: Painting, Paper, Process, an exhibit held November 10, 2012 to January 13, 2013 at the Parrish Art Museum, Accessed April, 2015.

Matthew Daub: In the Shadow of Industry, Watercolors and Drawings of Eastern Pennsylvania, an exhibit held 1/20/01 - 4/1/01 at the Reading Public Museum. Includes essay by Robert Metzger, Ph.D, Director, CEO, Chief Curator, Reading Public Museum. Accessed April, 2015.

Oh Panama!: Jonas Lie Paints the Panama Canal, is a 2016 exhibit organized by the Hudson River Museum and the Michener Art Museum. MAM says: "The Norwegian-born painter Jonas Lie (1880-1940) was drawn early in his career to architectural subjects, and earned his reputation through his powerful renderings of New York and its icons of technological progress, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, the new skyscrapers, and the urban canyons they created. Inspired by an early color film documenting the construction of the canal, Lie was enthralled by the feats of engineering and the sublime visual qualities of the massive trench being carved across the Isthmus of Panama. He visited the Canal Zone for three months in 1913. Oh Panama! presents his dramatic vision of the canal's construction in eleven paintings on loan from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, as well as oil sketches, lithographs, and ephemera -- all will impress viewers as a sublime and beautiful documentation of man's relentless quest to conquer nature and harness its riches." Accessed 9/16.

The Paternal Suit: Heirlooms from the F. Scott Hess Family Foundation, an exhibit held August 24 - October 6, 2012 at the Halsey Institute. Includes press release and video. Accessed January, 2015.

People, Places and Things: Works by William DeBernardi, an exhibit held April 27 - August 12, 2012 at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art. Includes exbibit brochure. Accessed April, 2015.

Placing Pierre Daura, an exhibit held May 10, 2014 to September 28, 2014 at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon. Accessed February, 2015

Plastic Imagination, an exhibit held at the Fitchburg Art Museum September 25, 2016 - January 15, 2017. FAM says: "Plastic - a product inextricably tied to the manufacturing history of North Central Massachusetts ­ has many characteristics that make it fantastically unique. This multi-purpose material can be luminous, colorful, lightweight, strong, durable, practical, playful, affordable, and aerodynamic. It can conjure associations with industrial accomplishment, foment feelings of nostalgia, and trigger very real fears about consumption and waste.... Plastic Imagination explores the work of 10 contemporary New England artists who create extraordinary things with all kinds of plastics. Lisa Barthelson, Tom Deininger, Dana Filibert, Joseph Fucigna, Lynne Harlow, Niho Kozuru, Margaret Roleke, Dean Snyder, Bill Thompson, and Brian Zink all find inspiration in the fillers, films and moldable plastics made popular throughout the last century. Some shave, sand, sculpt, and paint different densities of foam. Some play up the translucent or opaque qualities of Plexi or Fiberglass, and some recycle plastic toys, treasures, and trash. Some present readily accessible, everyday plastics as strictly formal studies, while others crave the layers of meaning (social, political, cultural, environmental, and economic) that result from a focus on this ubiquitous and arguably indispensable material." Worcester Magazine featured the exhibit 9/15/16 in "The fantastic world of plastic" by Corlyn Voorhees; published "Plastics spotlighted in Fitchburg Art Museum exhibit" by Nancy Sheehan on 10/3/16 Accessed 10/16.

Plein Air Paintings Representing 114 Counties in Missouri by Billyo O'Donnell, an exhibit held at the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art. Accessed April, 2015.

A Retrospective in Memoriam: Robert MacDonald Graham, Jr., an exhibit held at the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art. Accessed April, 2015.

Ripped: The Allure of Collage, an exhibit held October 29, 2011 - January 8, 2012 at the Heckscher Museum of Art. Includes exhibit resource guide and activity page. Accessed January, 2015

Rob Evans: Mystery and Metaphor - Four Decades of Work, an exhibit held 9/27/14 - 12/7/14 at the Reading Public Museum. Includes online audio. Accessed April, 2015.

Rural Advocate: The Paintings of Nora Othic Plus Portraitures from the Permanent Collection, an exhibit held at the Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art. Accessed April, 2015.

A SEA OF POSSIBILITIES:Paintings by Merion Estes 1971 to 2006, an exhibit held September 10 - October 29, 2006 at the Pomona College Museum of Art. Essay by Rebecca McGrew, Curator. Accessed April, 2015.

Selections from the Mary and Michael J. Tatalovich Collection an exhibit held June 6 - August 5, 2012 at the Haggerty Museum of Art. Includes exhibit catalogue. Accessed August, 2015

Skowhegan at Seventy was an exhibit held June 4, 2016 to October 10, 2016 at the Portland Museum of Art. PMA says: "In 2016, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture celebrates 70 years as one of the world's premier artist residencies. The school does not grant degrees, yet for just over two months each summer its participants and faculty work and learn in an intense period of residence, intense days punctuated by evening lectures by artists and writers from all over the world. Many artists speak of their experiences at Skowhegan with stories not unlike those of Alex Katz, who has maintained in interview after interview for decades that his first summer at Skowhegan (also his first summer in Maine) was decisive for his life as an artist." Accessed August, 2016

Something Wicked This Way Comes, an exhibit held January 24, 2009 to April 11, 2009 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum's website says: "A major new exhibition of works from the permanent collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art explores the various ways that artists have represented evil in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries." Accessed February, 2015

Street Talk: Chris Daze Ellis in Dialogue with the Collection, an exhibit held May 3 - July 31, 2014 at the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy. Includes 4-minute video featuring the graffiti artist, checklist and a page about Daze's Life in the Fast Lane. Accessed January, 2016.

Summer Breeze: Paintings & Drawings by Alice Dalton Brown, an exhibit held May 18, 2013 - August 18, 2013 at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. Includes gallery guide. Accessed January, 2015.

Swept Away: Translucence, Transparence,Transcendence, in Contemporary Encaustic, an exhibit held May 18 - June 23, 2014 at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. [Link found to be expired as of 2015 audit. TFAO is saving the citation for use by researchers.]

Thenceforward, and Forever Free an exhibit held August 22 - December 22, 2012 at the Haggerty Museum of Art. Includes exhibit catalogue. Accessed Accessed August, 2015

Thomas Woodruff: Freak Parade, an exhibit held Jan. 27 - April 18, 2010 at the Haggerty Museum of Art. Accessed August, 2015.

TL Solien: Myths & Monsters, an exhibit held May 17, 2008 to August 17, 2008 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum's website says: "Throughout his prolific career, TL Solien has created works that interweave literal and metaphorical layers in an effort to convey complex thoughts and emotions. An influential figure in the Midwest for decades, Solien is also known nationally for canvases that explore personal experience with a dense visual lexicon of created and appropriated images. TL Solien: Myths & Monsters will feature works from the 1980s, as the artist explored life as a new father, to current works that employ literary figures as repositories for his thoughts and fears." Accessed February, 2015

Tongue-in-Cheek, an exhibit about humor and absurdity in Bay Area art held May 9 - July 19, 2015 at the di Rosa Preserve. Includes exhibit brochure with essay by Amy Owen, and news release. Accessed December, 2015.

Toward Resolution: Artists' Studies from the Collection, an exhibit held May 3 - July 31, 2014 at the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy. Includes illustrated checklist. Accessed January, 2016.

A Tumultuous Assembly: Collage, Assemblage, and the Found Object, an exhibit held May 17, 2014 to July 27, 2014 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum's website says: "Drawn from MMoCA's permanent collection, A Tumultuous Assembly presents contemporary interpretations of collage and assemblage, created during the second half of the twentieth century, by such artists as Don Baum, Henry Botkin, Louise Nevelson, Robert Rauschenberg, and Ray Yoshida, among others" Accessed February, 2015

William Clutz: Crossings is a 2016 exhibit at Schmucker Art Gallery, Gettysburg College, previously at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. Download the 62-page exhibit catalog published by Schmucker Art Gallery, with essay by Shannon Egan, Director, Schmucker Art Gallery. The Foreword says: "Clutz carefully balances the pure abstraction of mid-century American painting with the reintroduction of figurative imagery. Because his works are at once abstract and representational, Clutz resists neat categorization into a cohesive art movement. Rather, his vibrant examination of line, color, and light reflects the artist's sincere commitment to his singular style." Accessed 10/16.

Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties was a 2012 exhibit at Cleveland Museum of Art which said: "The exhibition Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties brings together for the first time the work of more than 60 painters, sculptors, and photographers who explored a new mode of modern realism in the years bounded by the aftermath of the Great War and the onset of the Great Depression. Throughout the 1920s, artists created images of liberated modern bodies and the changing urban-industrial environment with an eye toward ideal form and ordered clarity-qualities seemingly at odds with a riotous decade best remembered for its flappers and Fords." Accessed 10/16. Also, Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties at Dallas Museum of Art. Includes gallery photos. Accessed August, 2015.

Visiting...With Huell Howser - LINT ART is an archived 28-minute television broadcast presented online by KCET. "Huell visits his artist friend Slater Barron to witness the beauty of art made from lint. Yes, lint." Text courtesy of KCET. Accessed January, 2015.

PBS provides a variety of streaming video sources for American art. PBS's two-season television series Art-21, Art in the Twenty-First Century. PBS explains that the series is "the only series on television to focus exclusively on contemporary visual art and artists in the United States, and it uses the medium of television to provide an experience of the visual arts that goes far beyond a gallery visit. Fascinating and intimate footage allows the viewer to observe the artists at work, watch their process as they transform inspiration into art, and hear their thoughts as they grapple with the physical and visual challenges of achieving their artistic visions." The Art-21 website contains video clips relating to each of the many featured artists including Laurie Anderson, Margaret Kilgallen, Sally Mann, Bruce Nauman, Raymond Pettibon, Martin Puryear, Susan Rothenberg, Collier Schorr, Kiki Smith, William Wegman and Fred Wilson. The Art:21 series and its companion materials answer the following questions: who are today's artists?; what are they thinking about?; how do they describe their work? and why do they do what they do? The Season One and Two home videos are two sets with four hours each. Viewers meet "a diverse group of contemporary artists through revealing profiles that take viewers behind the scenes-into artists' studios, homes, and communities -- to provide an intimate view of their lives, work, sources of inspiration, and creative processes." Representational as well as abstract artists are featured in the videos. Accessed May, 2015.

Philocetes Center presents a discussion with Chuck Close, Vincent Katz, and Matthew von Unwerth about the film "Chuck Close," directed by Marion Cajori. [32:40] Accessed May, 2015.


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